Stansfield's Detective Chief Inspector Lloyd (The Other Woman, p. 23, etc.) is present when the town's biggest factory--owned by gossipy widow Zelda Driver--is taken over with glitzy ceremony by power-hungry new owner Victor Holyoak. Katherine Scott, who married plant manager Max Scott years ago--six months after the unsolved murder of his wife Valery--and who provided Max's alibi then, faints dead away when Holyoak announces during his speech that Katherine is his stepdaughter. Good-natured, womanizing Scott is angrier at his wife than anyone has ever seen him. Among the worried witnesses to his fury are local doctors Geraldine and Charles Rule, with hidden agendas of their own, and Anna, Holyoak's p.r. woman, who knows more about him than most and whose own past is far from pristine. When Holyoak is stabbed to death in his penthouse apartment, Lloyd and Inspector Judy Hill (finally together after years of frustration) are compelled to review--at tedious length--events going back 15 years. Blackmail, suicide, child abuse, homosexuality--all will play a part in a densely plotted story full of characters well drawn but not always convincing in their complex, sometimes bizarre interplay. A mostly intriguing tale for the patient reader.