Affable but rather foolish amateur-sleuthing in yet another wee English village. This one is tiny Bassington--where retired headmistress Harriet Charles has found her dream cottage at last. And Harriet likes her neighbors too: retired Col. Rillington; vague Dr. Ashford and positive wife Rosemary; widowed Caroline Metcalfe and her two teenage sons; hearty Beatrice (""Cotty"") Cotman; and Fiona and Bobby Kilmarrock, the perfect-couple owners of Bassington Hall. But then Harriet finds Fiona's body in a toolshed adjacent to her own garden--so she calls in her old pal, ex-cop Ted Baxter, and they begin to investigate what they're sure is murder. From that point on, Hough's careful, Agatha Christie-ish groundwork collapses into silliness--as half the population of Bassington appears to stalk the other half through their nighttime gardens. . . while the local police are somehow totally uninvolved. And the killer's dubious motivation, when finally revealed, doesn't help either. Still--likable characters and an easy, classy style may be enough to engage less demanding members of the Anglophilic mystery audience.