A fourth outing for Illinois p.i. Quint McCauley (Masquerade in Blue, 1991, etc.) finds him more involved with his dog Peanuts than with his current squeeze Elaine and his lying client Jubal Tanner, who's being railroaded into jail for the murder of his brother Brig's lover Gayle. Was the bullet that killed her meant for Brig? Peanuts is abducted; Sheriff Carver is abruptly replaced by his bought-off deputy Moore; and a major source of friction between the Tanners--the purchase of the stud horse Kessler--turns out to be a nasty joke gone awry. Moreover, Brig's son Will was also romancing Gayle, and Jubal's wife, Claude, is quietly going mad embroidering blood-red roses. Then Quint winds up in the emergency room after someone laces his beer with LSD, and two more will die before the Tanner brothers confront each other--and Quint drives off with a reclaimed Peanuts by his side. The unlovable Tanners are far less interesting than Quint and Elaine falling out of love. As puzzles go: only so-so--too many melodramatic family secrets clutter the plot.