Richard Vine and his self-effacing wife Natasha own Bellingham Grange, a conference center in Shillingham, the bailiwick of DCI David Webb (One is One and All Alone, 1998, etc.). Mostly devoted to gatherings of business people and writers, this latest meeting—Vine’s whimsical idea—has brought together 20 Richard Vines, most with wives. Now it’s over and five of the couples are taking the local minibus, driven by much-liked John Bainbridge, to the train station. Suddenly, though, the bus crashes on the way, killing all but two passengers. Horror intensifies with the discovery that a deliberate act of vandalism had made the disaster inevitable. Now Webb and his team go to work, trying to find some motive behind the heinous crime. There seems to be a connection to Bainbridge’s job change some years back and to the send-off party his workers gave him, even though he seemed unwell at the time and German measles were plaguing the area. Matters are further complicated when, at a writers” conference at the Grange, the body of Erica Mann, recently back from the US, is found, seemingly a suicide. More questions are raised with the appearance at Headquarters of Bainbridge’s close friend Doug Leyton, who’s insistent on taking the blame for the crash. It’s all wrapped up, unconvincingly in the final pages of one of Fraser’s sillier flights of fancy, layered with neurotic personalities, several illicit affairs, and Webb’s own lethargic relationship with neighbor Hannah. Not one of the author’s many admirable outings.