Romantic-suspense novelist LaBarre (The Florentine Win, Stranger in Vienna) here focuses on the English countryside, particularly on the East Upton house, grounds, and studio of college-lecturer/arts -organizer Simon Maxwell, who invites visiting American Faron Blackwood to stop by and discuss the novels of her father John, who drowned 16 years ago but was never found. Then, however, everyone who knew the writer dies, including Hungarian cartoonist Stamm (he leaves Faron clues in his drawings) and would, be Blackwood biographer Gideon Wiss, a self-promoter par excellence. Meanwhile, Faron herself has several close calls; Simon has recurring laryngitis and is confined to a wheelchair after a nasty accident; his stepson eavesdrops and saws at his cuticles with a knife; and Oliver Cardiff, Blackwood's literary agent, shares one secret with Simon while keeping another from him--at least for a while. With the help of dashing landscape architect Harrison Jones, Fanon sorts through the various bodies and motives, all the while wrestling with the notion that Simon resembles someone--but who? Pretty countryside, silly plot--not much helped by uninteresting badly motivated characters.