Detective Chief Inspector Phil Benholme, of the Barshire CID, is so agonizingly reflective that his ability to see every possible side of even the simplest questions has cost him his marriage as well as a certain amount of respect on the job. True, when the first bulletin of a sudden fatality in Sandymount comes in, it’s Benholme’s resourceful questioning of the obvious that marks the case as murder. Why would anybody kill an elderly Nobel laureate like Professor Edul Unwala, who was survived by no relatives but an indifferent sister-in-law, and who lived alone except for a vast number of caged mice? Again, Benholme’s imagination can produce half a dozen possibilities: racial hatred, the enmity of the neo-fascist Britforce, a search for the legendary Hampton Hoard Unwala’s late wife may have had left clues to. But when the evidence—the presence of a teenaged boy on the scene, a uniform coat from nearby Harrison Academy, some casually sharp-eyed witnesses—begins to point toward his own son Conor, Benholme’s cursed talent for seeing every side of every issue (perhaps Conor has a simple explanation that’s perfectly innocent, perhaps he really was on the scene when Unwala’s head was bashed in) provokes his superiors to suspicion, his ex-wife to fury, and Conor to unauthorized leave. Veteran Keating (Asking Questions, 1997, etc.) cunningly draws out the particulars of the simple-seeming case that so vexes Benholme till the startlingly sudden resolution.