A debut novel set in a Church of England diocese centered on Medewich Cathedral and its adjacent living-and-working quarters for bishop, deacon, archdeacon, and their functionaries. Into this tightly knit, semicloistered world enters Julia Smith--far from her Australian home, fresh from Cambridge and a broken romance--seeking her first job as typist in the office of power-hungry Canon Charles Wheeler. She's hired--and is second on the scene when cleaning woman Mrs. Thrigg finds the severed head of Pastor Paul Gray in the chapel. Deaconess Theodora Braithewaite and the Canon's assistant, Ian Caretaker, do their best to guide Julia through the intricacies of church politics while the police, mostly in the person of thickheaded Inspector Tallboys, flounder through a mess of motives and timetables. A second murder, drugs, black magic, embezzlement, and some strange personalities surface before the not-totally-convincing culprit emerges. The plot is overcomplicated and overpopulated, but Greenwood has a fresh, clever, and civilized style. Her further work is anticipated with pleasure and interest.