Actress-narrator Tessa Crichton, as curious, pushy, and irresistible as before, is in the cast of Host of Pleasures, a London hit about to tour America--first stop, Washington's Kennedy Center. A fellow player turns up knifed in the street, and it might be just one of those Washington muggings. Then again, it might not, so Tessa--allied with a beguilingly oafish D.C. cop--investigates. The atmosphere's far better than the puzzle, with Georgetown and the Watergate seen through refreshing, visiting eyes and the theatrical milieu as grease-painty as can be. Morice's work recalls the early Ngaio Marsh--the same unsentimental, sharp focus--with extra wit to make up for the uninspired who-why-and-how.