There's no joy in Shepherd's Bush for Inspector Bill Slider. His wife has left him for a devastatingly boring lover; his own on-again/off-again lover Joanna is off again; and Superintendent ``Mad Ivan'' Barrington, still smarting over Slider's unwelcome revelations in Death to Go (1994), is doing everything he can to live up to his nickname. Still, things could be worse, as Slider finds out when he's called to the scene of Sir Stefan Radek's murder. Incredibly, the eminent conductor was shot while rehearsing the Royal London Philharmonic in Mahler's Fifth in front of dozens of witnesses at a distance of 60 feet--it wasn't even the bullet but the shock that killed him--and now, to add insult to injury, his survivors (all except his suspiciously devoted valet) are weaving a lurid tale of his high-handedness (so says his daughter and heir), his concupiscence (his agent), and his professional incompetence (Joanna, on the scene along with the other violinists in the Royal London). Suspicion lights on Radek's son-in-law, an overextended solicitor who never reported the theft the year before of three pricey paintings, but Harrod-Eagles still has plenty of well-judged surprises--and one whopping coincidence--up her sleeve. As cogently plotted and maturely written as Ruth Rendell's Death Notes. The big mystery, though, is whether Slider and Joanna will ever resolve the longest-running romance (four episodes and counting) since the Taster's Choice couple.