Veteran Mitchell with a livelier-than-usual tale--narrated by amiable writer Corin Stratford, who's house-guesting with old college friend Anthony Wotten and his new wife Celia. The corpse of the title: Gloria Mundy, ex-mistress of both Wotten and third college-chum Hardie McMaster: she shows up as an uninvited lunch guest, leaves in a huff (insulted by Wotten's dotty, shrewd Aunt Eglantine), and then resurfaces as a fire casualty in an old house on Wotten's property. The cause of death, however, turns out to be stabbing; confusing stories of blackmail and witchcraft ensue; the corpse's identity is in question. And Dame Beatrice Bradley (Mitchell's usual psychiatrist/sleuth) follows the case peripherally, briefed by Stratford--who busily detects, laconically rekindles an old flame, and (in the wake of Gloria's resurrection) makes the crucial link with another recent stabbing death. Prodigious padding, contrived/confused plotting (with a cop-out denouement)--but Stratford is a likable narrator-hero, a better-than-usual mouthpiece for Mitchell's dry wit and erudition.