The autopsy on Penny Winter shows that the poor, overworked young mother died from poisoned pÉtÇ--not from the fall down the stairs that followed. When Detective-Superintendent Mike Yeadings and his Thames Valley police force catch up with Penny's ex- husband, no-account Ronnie Gardner, he seems to be implicated in another murder too--that of pregnant Anneke Vroom, found stuffed into an antique-dealer's van, whom he'd chatted up while pretending to be an insurance-company nabob at a hotel. Unfortunately for Ronnie, Di Angus Mott and his fiancÇe Paula were also at the hotel and witness to his lies. Is he a double-murderer--or merely a cad? While Mott travels to the Netherlands to track down Anneke's origins, Rosemary ``Z'' is sent undercover to the Colchester hotel, where she uncovers a money fiddle and a waitress on the game--and then is hospitalized after someone pushes her down the stairs. Meanwhile, Yeadings is sifting, sorting, and collating the facts- -and ultimately assigning blame to two different sources. Clever misdirection from the competent Curzon, whose Thames Valley coppers (Cat's Cradle, etc.) are always interesting if a shade too introspective.