A flat, predictable, preposterous first novel in which midwestern homicide cop Dan Ledger decides that wealthy entrepreneur Charlotte Madison was shot and killed by one of her four ungrateful children--though whoever it was did attempt to make it look like a break-in. Accordingly, Ledger interviews wimpy bookstore-manager Bert; flashy ne'er-do-well Eric; neurotic Rita and competent Carolyn, and then calls on Becky Crawford--his former girlfriend who used to work for the Madisons. The inside dirt includes: affairs with Eric and Bert; Charlotte's breaking off her engagement to one of them; Rita's affair with a married man; and Carolyn being the heiress apparent--though the family lawyer says that Charlotte died on the eve of changing her will. Meanwhile, Ledger's young daughter Amy provides a clue (improbable), and when the stodgy cop investigates for it, he is waylaid by the guilty party--who then explains all in excruciatingly silly detail. Nothing new, unfortunately--and much that is banal.