Once again, CID Chief Inspector Alan Markby and Consular Service Agent Meredith Mitchell (A Fine Place for Death, 1995, etc.) join forces to solve a murder. The victimslain (by lethal injection) at the Chelsea Flower Showis Alex Constantine, nÇ Georges Wahid, a well-to-do importer from Cyprus, married to Markby's ex-wife Rachel. Rachel's home is Malefis Abbey, a baronial mansion in the village of Lynstone, and it's there that an investigation is started by Scotland Yard's mean-spirited Superintendent Hawkins. Meredith and Markby are also there, in response to Rachel's plea for their support--Meredith as houseguest; Markby staying at the fusty Lynstone House Hotel, garnering gossip on locals like Nevil, the wimpy son of hard-bitten Molly James, who runs a boarding kennel and who bitterly resents her son's infatuation with Rachel Constantine. There's gossip too about Miriam Troughton, the hotel owner's wife, an out-of-sync figure of continental chic who takes off for parts unknown whenever boredom strikes. Meanwhile, Meredith, enjoying the lavish gardens at Malefis, groomed to perfection by French gardener Martin, narrowly escapes injury from a stone ornament rigged to fall. More serious complications arise when young Gillian Hardy, Molly's kennel helper, is found stabbed to death in the aviary. The final unravelling of the over-the-top plotting behind it all defies both description and belief. The reader's sole consolation here is the author's warm and nimble way with the slow-paced English village scene and its not- so-sluggish characters.