More paddocks, surgery tables, mucky boots, and syringes--as yet another English vet (female, trim, plucky, and a shade dull) scratches out a niche in a Cotswold community, shapes up a human or two, and finds romance. Rachel Bellamy's first real job is as assistant to taciturn Milchester vet Malcolm Halliday; and she soon realizes that Malcolm, in whose house she lives with the utmost propriety, is a kind and good man who's been blasted into silence by a crabbed upbringing. But then, when Malcolm's illness thrusts more work on Rachel, it is bear-like Tom Adams, helpful vet from a neighboring village, who offers romance--slowly beaming over the parade of cases: horse stuff, from routine care for Lady Bramwell's fine animals (her horse gets luxury chocolates after the ordeal of shots) to a tragically dying Arabian (victim of skimpy preventive medicine); monstrous/charming pigs; pregnant cows; and dogs--put down, rescued (from drowning, from a nasty kennel), or triumphantly recovering from a hit-and-run auto accident. This lucky terrier's owner--repressed Miss Pringle--finds love in the vet's waiting room. But after Malcolm's death Rachel herself sinks into a gloomy lethargy, reblooming only after she patches up a miserable local marriage. . . and after Tom joins her in treating a mysteriously waning foal. Herriot's high humor is missing here, and the romance seems a bit pallid. But that constant and tolerant pet-and-vet readership--at least those who can stomach another go-round in the bovine uterine canal--will probably be mildly pleased by Knowles' case-by-case details.