Helen Campbell's marriage to Andrew, an insurance claims adjuster is in trouble. Their two children are grown, and a restless Helen is thinking of renewing her old career in the antiques trade. Driving home one night from a visit to daughter Penelope, a university student, Helen is delayed by heavy fog and thankfully takes a room at The Seven Stars, a B&B along the way. As she's parking her car, a young woman runs out of the inn's doorway. Her body is found later that night--victim of a hit and run. Meanwhile, Chief Inspector David Webb of the nearby Shillingham police (The Gospel Makers, 1996, etc.) is trying to dredge up information from a botched attempt to break into Beckworth House- -one of a series of robberies of stately homes across the county, all of them marked by the theft of one or only a few not-always- valuable objects. Some days later Helen returns to Steeple Bayliss to take a two-week course on antiques, staying again at The Seven Stars, where, as on her first stay, she detects some odd cross- currents amongst owners Stella and Gordon Cain, Stella's sister Kate and brother-in-law Nicholas Warren; disquieting things, too, about their visitor Dominic Hardy--disturbing enough to drive Helen to the local police station, where, eventually, her total recall helps Webb solve a case in which the latest break-in has resulted in murder. Readable and fitfully intriguing, but undermined by too many coincidences, a clumsily absurd conspiracy, and an underlying motive literally not to be believed.