British policewoman Charmian Daniels has reached a high rank in her Windsor-based unit (Windsor Red, 1988, etc.). Wealthy Humphrey Kent wants to marry her, but Charmian chooses to distance herself with the purchase of an old house in nearby Brideswell. It was owned by the late Lady Beatrice Armitage, an aunt of Charmian's close friend Mary Erskine. When Chloe Devon, secretary to Mary's wealthy suitor Billy Damiani, disappears one night from Brideswell's main street -- her dismembered body parts later turning up in several places -- Charmian finds herself unofficially investigating the murder. Officially in the hands of attractive Chief Superintendent Clive Barney, the case is soon complicated by the murder of longtime resident Thomas Dryden, found by Charmian mutilated and dying in the village churchyard. Secrets past and present abound in Brideswell, one of them in the house next to Charmian's, but it's in an unlikely comer that she finds the key to the puzzle. Several psychics wander in and out of a plot spun in cryptic prose that tends to flatten suspense, A mildly engrossing midlevel entry in this series of offbeat procedurals.