In the Hudson Valley town of Appleboro, retired cop Hugh Morrison and his widowed neighbor Harriet Lorimer continue their informal investigative partnership (A Killing in Real Estate, 1989). The problem this time is the murder of Al Beasley--lecher, drug dealer, and professor at the local college--who had long abused his wife, local girl Florene. His body was found in a pond behind their frowzy, isolated house, and the police are busy looking for proof that Florene killed him. In her nearly dimwitted way, she seeks help from Morrison, who soon turns up a slew of Beasley-haters--rival professors Cribbs and Blackman; vineyard owner Art DeWitt, who's sure that Beasley, once employed as his P.R. man, has ruined him; Don Tupper, head of the competing Clarendon winery, whose young wife attended Beasley's raunchy parties; and a hot-tempered, overprotective father, among others. Morrison slowly works his way through gossip, myriad motives, and another killing to the real culprit, barely escaping death in the process. The plot rambles, but the small-town characters and atmosphere are engaging, as are Morrison and Lorimer in this cozy, untaxing entertainment.