Healy is in less than top form here as John Cuddy, his wily, Boston-based PI (Foursome, 1993, etc.) takes on a two-pronged investigation for gentle, grief-stricken Pearl Rivkind and cold- fish pharmacist William Proft. Pearl's husband, Abe, has been bludgeoned to death in the office of his furniture store. Proft's sister Darbra worked there but has disappeared. Is there a connection? William and Darbra hate each other but may have been partners in a scheme involving insurance and their mother's death. Darbra's possible liaison with Abe, a Holocaust survivor loved by all, is something no one wants to discuss, and even Cuddy finds himself trying to preserve Abe's reputation as he explores a truly bizarre conspiracy. There's plenty of padding here--endless details of Cuddy's leg and shoulder therapy, soul-searching with and without girlfriend Nancy. None of it helps a story that starts with intriguing possibilities but disintegrates as it pursues its clumsy and unbelievable plot.