This rather tepid police procedural marks the author's US debut and introduces Superintendent Alan Mason and sidekick Ian Crawford, who work out of the Scottish town of Greyhavens. The two are investigating the suspicious death of Dr. Walter Emery, found dead in his bath at the Monzie Hydro Hotel. Emery--a minor academic and choleric book-reviewer under the pseudonym of ``The Raven''- -made enemies both in the classroom and in his reviews. Mason interviews Emery's aged bridge partner, Mrs. Murgatroyd--a permanent guest in the hotel; his solicitor; his fellow teachers; a young woman writer whose novel ``The Raven'' had savaged, and a host of others. Solid police routines finally produce an undermotivated culprit, but disjointed plotting, colorless characters, and lack of tension make for dull going--helped only a little by a competent, literate style.