Another of the author's sometimes delicious souffles stirred up by actress-sleuth Tessa Crichton (Sleep of Death, etc.), but unfortunately this one suffers a premature collapse. Through her Scotland Yard detective husband, Robin, Tessa is drawn into an exploration of the family history of Edwardian rake-playwright Sheridan Seymour, whose abrasive legitimate daughter Baba is writing a biography of him that will supposedly throw doubt on his parentage of a second family with mistress Kitty Lampeter. That family is a strange one, too--reclusive embroidery-expert Angle; writer Laura, whose pregnant daughter Pam is married to Robin's aide Derek Haworth; diabetic, absent-minded Dorothy, and religious fanatic Tom--all of them near penury, and all of them possible beneficiaries of the recent Sheridan Seymour revival. Meanwhile, there's an unidentified woman burnt to death in a house connected to the clan; a cache of maybe bogus letters written by the great man; and numerous twists and turns as Tessa, whose chutzpah here outweighs her charm, pushes her way to a messy finale. Strong start, tasty drawing-room chatter, but excesses in a plot that never rings true make this one of Morice's lesser efforts.