A first appearance in the US for this British author and good news for lovers of the English traditional. The strangled body of caterer Nancy Pendrick has been found in Chedbury Woods, outside the country town of Shillingham. Nancy's second marriage, to widower Oliver Pendrick, owner of a successful nearby country inn, was not a success, a fact obvious to their New Year's Eve guests. Queen's Counsel Roger Beresford, brother of Oliver's first wife Avis, was there with cold, ambitious wife Faith. So was Heather Frayne, Oliver's rejected love of many years before, with her boring, near-alcoholic doctor husband. Oliver's son Henry, a compulsive gambler, and gorgeous, narcissistic daughter Rose were there too. The now-dead Nancy was supposed to have returned to her business in London after the party, but was back in Shillingham a day later. Why? When Chief Inspector Webb finds that Nancy had an angry argument with ne'er-do-well ex-husband Danny Dean in his rented room in Shillingham, he's pretty sure he has the culprit--but others who knew the victim were also in the town at the crucial time, and the solution is far from simple. Literate, well-plotted, interestingly peopled and absorbing. No fireworks here--just quiet competence.