Giroux turns her attention from a series of cases involving London lawyer Robert Forsythe (A Death for a Dodo, etc.) to a story about Karen Dancer, a young widow who has returned, with eight- year-old daughter Jamie, to her hometown of Hampstead, Ontario. She hopes to gain strength for her just-achieved New York job and to build up Jamie after a severe case of measles. But moving into the huge old house willed to her years before, in which her cousins Ashley (the town's mayor) and Sybil are living, Karen soon discovers there is no peace to be had in Hampstead. An offer has been made to buy her house and farmland for the site of a nuclear plant, and the town is up in arms. Meanwhile, Karen and Jamie are the targets of verbal and physical harassment that becomes ever more vicious. There's support from: Mac, the family's longtime cook and housekeeper; Dr. Jim Miles, an old flame; Cal Trent, an engineer for the developers; aged Uncle Alfred, and various friends from high-school days--but the attacks steadily escalate, leaving a trail of bodies, until Karen, in a deadly confrontation, uncovers motive and murderer. A fine sense of menace at the start is dissipated as the plotting grows more unbelievable, none of it helped by stock characters and wooden romancing. Spottily intriguing, but the author does better with her British hero.