Retired botany professor Andrew Basnett (A Murder Too Many, etc.) is spending Christmas with longtime friends Dorothea and Colin Cahill and their son Jonathan, whose house shares an isolated country lane only with the next-door house of retired lawyer Sir Lucas Dearden, his son Nicholas, and daughter-in-law Gwen. When Sir Lucas is killed by a bomb set off on this little-used stretch, there is only one outsider on the scene--Thomas Waterman. Waterman had been prosecuted by Sir Lucas on a murder charge years before, but is now out of prison and may have made good on the threats he'd shouted in the courtroom. Andrew has doubts, though, reinforced by rumors of an affair between Jonathan and Gwen Dearden. His disquiet is reinforced by a conversation with Gwen's visiting friend Lyn Goddard, who has her own scenario. There's endless talk, talk, talk, and tea, tea, tea (interspersed with sherry)--all given new impetus with a second murder. Andrew finally figures it all out, but, unfortunately, most readers will have long fled this bloodless, soporific tale--no high point for its veteran author.