When Michael Deramo, a custodian for the Charger Street laboratory, is found garrotted to death shortly after agreeing to accept $100,000 for forgetting an incriminating conversation he overheard about the lab's lithium program, Sgt. Matt Gennaro, of the Revere Police Department, swings into action. Naturally, Matt puts his girlfriend, sometime consultant Gloria Lamerino, on the city payroll as a technical advisor; naturally, Gloria, a retired physicist of a certain age who returned to her hometown from Berkeley only a year ago, takes her authorization as a license to snoop; naturally, she swiftly succeeds in antagonizing not only Charger Street researchers Fred Laughton and John Hammer but Michael's son Francis, a patent attorney, and Francis's society wife Sylvia; naturally, Matt, seeing the dangers to his ladylove mount like floodwaters, rips up her contract, makes an arrest, and pronounces the case closed; naturally, Gloria just takes these little setbacks as a cue to go into overdrive. She pumps wallflower lab tech Andrea Cabrini for information, befriends Sylvia's lonely son Andy Palmer, buries the hatchet with Sylvia herself, and provokes a confrontation with a killer who by now has killed again, all because she's one of those people who likes to solve problems. What's new in this third in a series (The Helium Murder, 1997, etc., not reviewed) aimed squarely at fans of Murder, She Wrote is the touchingly low-key romance between Gloria and Matt. Everything else is old, borrowed, or blue.