Editor/anthologist McCullough (American Childhoods, etc.) turns to detective fiction with this sedate ""Hudson Valley mystery,"" whose principals pledge eternal loyalty to maintaining their fairy-tale village as a corporation while proving their wellbred iconoclasm by strapping on New Balance running shoes or plottigg to sell their shares in Smyrna to Great Bear and Highfield, Limited. Naomi Quick, whose husband Lew vanished over 20 years ago, returns to Smyrna when she gets an anonymous note that Lew will be there for his aunt Nan's funeral. He's there, all right, moldering bones tucked chastely away in a sleeping bag in Aunt Nan's closet. Who's responsible for this distasteful joke, and why? What does it have to do with the death soon after (apparently by heart failure) of Harry Van Schoonhoven, filthy-rich husband of the reigning Quick matriarch, or the attempt to run Naomi's car off the road, or the systematic defacing of every available copy of Smyrna history by Gwen Van Schoonhoven's late mother, Idris Quick? The Reverend Ziza Todd joins forces, sort of, with state police detective Nick Story to check out preservationist/businesswoman Melody Horn and her minions; aging twins Charley and Frank Butler; and young handyman Tim Jacobsen--in a tale as cozy as a country Christmas, with about as much excitement. The first, the publisher promises, of many Catskills adventures starring Ziza Todd.