Brash, sometimes overwrought and unpolished but, still, an always compelling debut portraying a middle-class London that is far from traditional. Three women have been murdered on the Common bordering the house where troubled Zena Baird, the ""Agony Auntie"" columnist for a feminist paper, lives with barely tolerated, perennially adolescent rock-musician husband Simon and son Colin. A never-answered plea for help from first victim Honey Barker--as well as the suspicion cast on her by blustering Detective-Inspector Grout--leads Zena to explore Honey's background. She finds, among other things, a tangle of family and amorous relationships, mostly lesbian; a malevolent, disfigured Dr. Nadine Norwood, who runs an abortion clinic; and a lesbian social club where she recognized an old friend. She also inspires the support of Grout's Sergeant Tarrant, whose longtime hobby, good memory and doggedness finally break the case. Engaging, far-from-perfect Zena is but one of the deft character studies here. They combine with rational plotting and a zingy writing style to make the reader look forward to Lehmkuhl's next outing.