A second outing for fortyish, self-styled busybody Barbara Simons (Perilous Friends, 1996), who lives in Montreal on a substantial severance package from her terminated, high-level job with PanCanada Airlines. It's pure happenstance that Barbara's on the scene when the body of her ex-boss, Walter Whitestone, is found in his palatial but slightly shabby home, stabbed to death, his stoic wife Beth seemingly little touched by the event. Barbara takes it on herself to find out who did the deed, networking with former company contacts and best friend Joanne, a TV reporter, among others. The gossipy Barbara uncovers two mistresses in Walter's life--one of many years' duration, and one brand-new: black jazz singer Cassandre Cartier. There's also much talk of Walter's diminished fortune, largely the result of inept investments by Beth's brother-in-law Winston Warfield, a hard- drinking stockbroker. Barbara's platonic escort during much of her search is attractive Rick Fogarty, her trainer at the gym and a very successful commodities broker on the side. He's not around, however, when an invitation from Winston's wife Beverly--Beth's sister--to lunch at the tony Redpath Club ends in a messy, unreal confrontation that pinpoints the killer. Barbara's self-obsessed musings, breezy but verbose, are endearing at the start but grow tiresome by the finish. A plus is the take on Montreal's WASPy English community trying to adapt in their newly Frenchified venue. Different and diverting entertainment most of the way.