Washington-based p.i. Anna Peters (Time Lapse, etc.) and artist husband Harry are guests of Isobel and Ken Browning in Branch Hill, Connecticut. Harry is having a show of paintings at the local gallery, owned by Sidonie Urson, a neighbor of the Brownings in lush Branch Hill Estates. Before the show's opening, the Ursons' teenaged daughter Lindsay is found clubbed to death near her home, apparently soon after saying goodnight to the Brownings' teenager Angela. Young Scott Cushing, grandson of Alex Valon, an old friend of Anna's, comes under suspicion--and after months go by with no arrest and a cloud still over Scott, Alex hires Anna to return to Branch Hill to try to resolve matters. By then, Sidonie and her husband Bradley have separated; Bradley's protÇgÇ William Brighton, also a suspect, has moved into town; Angela has lost weight, seems frightened, and has invested all her energies in the Madrigal Society, run by gifted, flaky Peter Laurimer, who's also a magnet for another Estates dweller--sexy, promiscuous Miriam Greene. Not one of the neurotic people in this upscale Peyton Place seems real. Neither does motivation, method, or any subsequent action of the murderer, finally revealed. Anna herself provides the only substance here--but it's not enough to carry the blurry, disjointed plot or its burden of off-the-wall characters.