The author of Stranger on the Highway (note shift from Little, Brown) reverses the set-up of an unknown in a community becoming involved in a murder in presenting this time a close-knit circle whose very intimacy obscures the element of evil. Margaret, companion to Emily, wealthy, delicate, makes every gesture to prevent anyone from robbing her of her power. She is unable to drive Roger away from Emily; she has trouble in keeping the minister from making demands on Emily's purse. She drives out the refugee Jews when she and Emily are on vacation, she is responsible for causing Roger's suicide when she sends him off -- and into the lures of neurotic Gloria...Finally, Emily reveals her awareness of Margaret's deeds -- and Margaret kills her to prevent a change in her will. Thwarted in her final efforts by threat of blackmail on the part of the minister, she still cannot resist one last gesture in anonymously accusing her nephew of too liberal ideas in a letter to the heads of the institution where he teaches...A power for evil exemplified by frustrated, demanding spinster makes an absorbing story, plausible in its development, continuing the morbid exploration of his earlier book. Not for gentle souls!