Yet another dysfunctional family's problems descend on Thames Valley Police Force Superintendent Mike Yeadings and his stalwart team (First Wife, Twice Removed, 1993). And the relatives of eccentric, ailing old bachelor Hadrian Bascombe are an odd lot indeed: slightly crippled but feisty Francine; her still beautiful, promiscuous mother, Elinor, married to dermatologist Frank; Elinor's sweet-natured brother Josh, a botanist-photographer; Elinor's businessman brother Morton and his avaricious wife, Marcia. Morton's son Dominic is driving as he and Francine, in her car, make their getaway from a meeting of the clan called by Bascombe to announce a single heir to his fortune. (He never does.) There's a near-fatal accident, and Yeadings spots deliberate damage to the car. That's just the start of a slow-to-unravel history awash with death and deception in which Yeadings confronts Josh's murder and, with Francine, echoes of his own long-ago emotional turmoil. Its manipulative machinery begins to clank well before the finish, but this literate police procedural is moderately absorbing most of the way.