The debut of marriage-phobic Detective Inspector Joseph Rafferty and his well-educated, lonely subordinate, Sergeant Llewellyn, who are called to the grounds of a posh private psychiatric hospital to survey the naked body of a young woman with her face bashed in. Who coshed her, and why? The philandering, social-climbing hospital-director, Dr. Melville-Briggs, his proud, do-gooder wife, his mistresses, and his staff all claim airtight alibis--which Rafferty and Llewellyn soon see right through, thanks to the smarmy hospital porter, the folks at the pub, and the tendency of major characters to spread malicious gossip about each other. Then a worried young woman named Miranda insists that she was meant to be the victim because of her firsthand knowledge of Melville-Briggs's drug-trafficking; Melville-Briggs himself dies in a suspicious car accident; and a diary with some heavy-duty S/M entries pops up before the villain is confronted--almost. Unpleasant people behaving in preposterous ways, with the author showing little insight into the medical profession or police procedure. A sequel, alas, is in the works.