Another chapter in the lives of Chief Inspector Alan Markby, of Bamford in the Cotswolds, and Meredith Mitchell, who's employed by the Consular Service and presently harnessed to a dull job in the London office. Their edgy, uncommitted relationship (A Season for Murder, 1992) is revived when Meredith agrees to housesit for Alan's vacationing sister Laura. She arrives in Bamford soon after the discovery of an unknown murder victim, buried on what was Lonely Farm, where contractor Dudley Newman is building houses under the supervision of disagreeable foreman Jerry Hersey. Two other farms in the area are fair game for developers--Greyladies, the Winthrop place, where son Alwyn would happily sell, and the nonworking Witchett farm, whose aged owner, Dolly Carmody, will hang on till death. The victim is finally identified as a drug agent on the trail of a shipment. His mission in this quiet backwater remains a mystery until a BMW with foreign plates, another killing, and Meredith's eager sleuthing turn up the answers. A mildly intriguing puzzle shares the spotlight here with a leisurely exploration of the area's legends and changing mores. Above-average procedural in the classic British mode.