A second appearance for gentle, clever Imogen Quy (The Wyndham Case, 1993), a nurse at St. Agatha's College in Cambridge. Now recovered from a disastrous love affair, Imogen is content with the company of Frances Bullion, a post-graduate student who rents her upstairs flat. To help augment a meager grant, Frances has taken over, from English professor Maverack, the task of completing a biography of Cambridge mathematician Gideon Summerfield, who, rumor has it, will soon be posthumously awarded the very prestigious Waymark Prize. But what Frances soon discovers, and confides to Imogen, is that she is but the latest in a string of biographers tackling Summerfield's life. Her immediate predecessor was Mark Zepher, who died of meningitis soon after meeting with the mathematician's rancorous widow. Original writer Ian Goliard, still living abroad, was followed by May Swann, whose years-old disappearance remains unsolved. Some crucial event in Summerfield's life in the summer of '78 emerges as the crux of the mystery. Meanwhile, Frances and Imogen follow the trail into the heart of Wales, finding leads in a combination of age-old craft and pre- women's lib bigotry. Perhaps a shade overcivilized but gracefully written, inventive and intriguing. A must for lovers of the British academic traditional.