Timmy didn't do it,"" says his sister Betty Cullen when she hears about the body they've found at the bottom of a gully outside Larch River, Ontario. Right she is, because the corpse is that of shiftless Timmy Marlow himself. The local police assume first that a jealous husband--there are several likely candidates--shot Marlow; then they follow a trail of $50 bills marked with Betty's initials to sometime guide Siggy Siggurdson, whose telltale new boots make him an even more promising suspect. But when Siggy's mother tells Mel Pickett, retired to Larch River from his supporting role on the Toronto force (A Sensitive Case, 1990), that although her son might well be a thief, he's no killer, Pickett reluctantly agrees to give the case a more independent look--despite his awkwardly close relationship with Larch River police chief (and police force) Lyman Caxton and his old friend Abraham Wilkie, another refugee from Toronto--and despite Siggy's complete lack of cooperation--and finds the key to the case in a robbery miles and years away. The uncompelling plot is neatly solved by Pickett, who's already, in his first starring role, as sententious (about log cabins and the Canadian railways) and as little drawn to crime as Wright's long-running hero Charlie Salter (Death by Degrees, 1993, etc.).