It's the eighth chaotic case for the recently promoted Superintendent Alan Markby (Flowers for His Funeral, 1995, etc.), now back in Bamford and close to longtime girlfriend/amateur sleuth Meredith Mitchell, of the Foreign Service. Markby is immediately confronted with an old murder, uncovered when gravediggers Densil and Gordon Lowe, in the process of readying a grave, unearth the remains of a young woman. The body is soon identified as that of Kimberley Oates, who disappeared 12 years ago and, according to the autopsy, was four months pregnant. Kimberley, the illegitimate daughter of long-gone Susan Oates, lived with her grandmother and worked for a caterer, waitressing in some of the town's richer houses, like that of Margaret and the late Richard Holden, whose son Lars had an affair with the promiscuous Kimberley. Now a stuffy politician, Lars and his arrogant fiancÇe are petrified at the thought of the tabloids picking up the story. As Alan and Meredith peek and prod, others in town are unhappy, too, including aged ex- gravedigger Kat Dullen, still seething at being replaced by the Lowe brothers; butcher Derek Archibald, with his soft-porn magazines and ailing wife; and Major Walcott, a neighbor and close friend of the Holdens. There are other suspects as well, but not until the body of Densil Lowe is found hanging from the rafter of a storage shed does the light begin to dawn, just in time to save Meredith from becoming one more victim of a case of bygone passions. With its oversupply of red herrings, quirky village characters, chirpy conversations over cups of tea, the pace is soporific and the solution from left field. Strictly for the most ardent, and patient, fans of the British traditional.