Two rivals have been dueling over flinty Hilary Oat's Vermont mountain tract and his neighbor Sophie Beaumont's affections. The clear loser is slate expert Sid Colt, who's found with his head bashed in. But the rest of the cast isn't doing so well either. The shed Sophie lives in is dynamited; Hilary's car unaccountably loses a wheel; even Sophie's honorary aunt Tish McWhinny (The Cashmere Kid, 1993) will have to wrestle Treasury agents, rattlesnakes, and a killer who gets the drop on her twice (really now, Tish) before she can be sure whether Sid's rival, Graham Gray, actually is the man she's looking for. The second hardcover adventure for a geriatric Nancy Drew whose cases bustle with harmless energy.