A second story set in the California college town of Port Silva (The Unquiet Grave), where recent high-school grad Dave Tucker has been found on the beach, shot to death. Dave had been a thorn in the side for widowed teacher Meg Halloran and her ten-year-old daughter Katy--falsely accusing Meg of making sexual advances; entering their house and threatening Katy; leaving ominous quotes from Scripture in the mailbox. Meg is first in the line of suspects, then, but a camping weekend over the time in question gives her a cast-iron alibi with attractive Police Chief Vince Gutierrex. It doesn't prevent ugly rumors from circulating, however, for which Meg blames Dave's bank-president father. In the meantime, neighbors Louise Martin, a divorced potter whose nosy daughter Cyndi spends a lot of time with Katy; children's book author and illustrator Felicity Luoma, a 60-ish loner; and Marian Watson, a bank employee who openly snubs Meg and others, are jittery. So is Meg--especially since a series of phone calls continues the threatening quotes from the Bible. When missing Johnny Stein, one of Dave's few chums, is found dead, apparently a suicide, with a note confessing Dave's murder next to him, everyone relaxes, but not for long. Gutierrex and Meg find lots of holes in the suicide scenario and keep turning up evidence of Dave's nasty little games--until a highly contrived series of events adds another death, puts Katy in jeopardy, and reveals the culprit. A large set of characters, too many of them just this side of looney tunes, keep things lively in a story that rambles on too long but manages to stay mildly absorbing. A huge improvement over the author's debut effort.