Actress-sleuth Tessa Crichton (Murder by Proxy, etc.), distinguished alumna of the Waterside School, a private drama/ballet institute for girls, is obliging when asked to judge an interhouse drama competition. But she finds disquieting goingson upon arrival: steely owner/principal Constance Bland is subject to fainting spells; Constance's placid doctor husband is deeply involved with the ballet mistress; and Mrs. Patterson, the long-established and much-loved house matron, is obviously Hiding Something. And what about those tensions between Tessa's fellow judge Eddie Harper, famed radio personality, and his Russian emigrâ€še wife Vera? Then-a student is dead, a gifted artist whose acerbic drawings spared no one. Accident, says the coroner. Murder, says Tessa, and solves the mystery to her own satisfaction. Readers, however, will be unconvinced by the solution--which, like the rest of the characterization here, is second-rate Morice. The manner, however, is as airily charming as ever, so devotees of the veddy-British style may want to overlook Morice's creaky plotting this time out.