When eccentric, reclusive spinster Lorely Pelling is found dead from a shotgun blast in the woods separating her house, a veritable cat sanctuary, from the upscale converted farmhouse belonging to the Welch family, Detective-Superintendent Yeadings, Thames Valley CID (The Blue-Eyed Boy, Three-Core Lead), is called in. His inquiries reveal that Miss Pelling's will left everything to young Amanda and Rory Welch, her ``kin,'' though their parents deny it; that a cat shot with her had been buried separately; and that the distraught Rory was so determined to protect someone that he soon tried suicide--twice. Was the secretive old lady blackmailing either Rory's mum or dad? Did the lad himself kill her? Various red herrings lead to the Welch stableboy, a former con, and to poor Peter, the simpleton who helped Miss Pelling with her cats. But it's innuendos about Miss Pelling's past (did she hush up the birth of a son?) that eventually draw Yeadings toward a motive. The narrow focus, strife among the classes, and carefully delineated clues are typical of Curzon and the civilized provincial police procedural and, here, prove a welcome balance to Yeadings's somewhat tedious introspection.