No need for Harvard grad student Janet Stevens to press her sexual harassment complaint against her advisor, eminent paleontologist Prof. Peter Chadwick: somebody's killed him in his lab by a clever method that pretty well narrows down the suspects to his professional colleagues. Was it one of his other grad students--beady-eyed Forrest Lang or nice-guy Eric Townsend--or his hungry junior competitor Peter Kolakowski? Or, as the Cambridge police insist, was it Janet herself? Fortunately, Janet ends up in the capable hands of Quaker clerk Elizabeth Elliot (Quaker Silence, 1992), whose no-nonsense authority (``humor of any sort was suspect to her'') is just what Janet needs (``Would you be so kind as to come to my house for lunch?...A can of soup seems called for'') to steel her against assorted villains of satisfyingly deep hue. Apart from an irrelevant but sharply observed subplot in which Elizabeth tries to deal with a newly released rapist she's taken in: as self-assured and ingenuous as Nancy Drew, and about as mystifying.