Masao Masuto--homicide, Beverly Hills--may well turn out to be the most enduring and endearing arrival on the cop scene in the past few years. This is his third case, which kicks off when a Chicano maid eats an eclair intended for her Beverly Hills boss lady--and dies of botulism injected therein. Furthermore, poisoned candy was sent to one of the intended victim's bridge-party cronies. When it seems clear that someone quite mad is trying to kill these four bridge-playing matrons (husbandless all), Masao gathers them together for their own protection--but even then one of them gets fed up, starts to drive off, and explodes in her Mercedes. To figure out which of the ladies' ex-husbands is the most likely suspect, Masao must gently probe the past--which, like everything else, he does with uncommon grace. Neat, spare, grim but humane: another low-key triumph for Cunningham and his quiet detective.