Mac"" McFarland, a Chicago reporter down on his luck at 50 (job lost, wife divorced), goes to the Cape Cod village of North Walpole, Mass., to brood and recuperate--only to find himself knee-deep in snow and murder when he finds the frozen corpse of super-wealthy neighbor Jane Drexel. Who strangled elderly Jane and dragged her body out into the snow? The obvious suspects are the four administrators of Jane's legacy--a vast trust to be used for preserving the quality of life in North Walpole. But Mac finds himself falling in love with one of the four: young civic leader Kate, a tart yet virginal widow who just might be Jane Drexel's illegitimate daughter! So, coming back to reportorial life as a stringer for a Boston paper, Mac concentrates instead on the other suspects--especially handsome young banker John Norton, another Jane Drexel protÃ‰gÃ‰--and on rumors of a local land scam. As a murder-mystery plot-man, NBC News correspondent Kiker is only fair: the red herrings are too obviously contrived, the eventual solution is unpersuasive. And the Mac/Kate love story pales when it strains for seriousness. But the village types are exuberantly sketched in; the Cape Cod winter provides distinctive atmosphere; and Mac's genial, economical narration helps to make this lively, substantial diversion.