Young Sarah Keeling (The Family Vault), well-born but newly widowed and short of funds, decides to turn her Beacon Hill townhouse into a boarding-house--with help from her Runyonesque theatrical friends, Charles and Mariposa, who play their roles of butler and maid to the teeth. But the boarders turn out to be an eccentric, semi-shady lot: an aeronautics prof, an overdressed young man, a grande dame who's really a seedy fortune-teller. . . and obnoxious old Mr. Quiffen, who's soon found dead on the tracks of the nearby subway. Moreover, a local shopping-bag lady claims to have seen Quiffen being pushed onto said tracks, and then Mr. Quiffen's replacement--an elderly seeker of Hawaiian artifacts--is murdered on the street. Strange doings, complicated by the arrival of the second victim's pushy sister. . . but finally sorted out by Sarah's favorite sleuth: dishy art-expert Max Bittersohn. Not much of a plot--hardly a short-story's worth--but MacLeod dispenses enough cheery, offbeat charm to make this another pleasantly genteel (if slightly talky) dollop of Beacon Hill comedy-suspense.