Ball's police procedurals (Trouble for Tallon, etc.) must be the most placid items in the genre: violence is muted, people can be nasty but rarely truly evil. And so it is with these new challenges faced by Chief Jack Tallon of the Whitewater, Oregon, police. The initial conflict: the Society for Open Relationships (mixed sex units of various sizes living together without marriage) is having its convention at Whitewater's summer-vacated college; Rev. Ezekiel Moses, a noisy Fundamentalist radio-preacher, has vowed to break up the convention--and has arrived in town with front-man Willis Slattery and a busload of followers. So Tallon, with help from his intrepid officers and stalwart local religious leaders, must avert any real damage--which he manages to do quite splendidly. Then, however, Slattery is murdered, presenting a thornier problem: lots of paperwork sleuthing ensues (mostly into the affairs of the late Agnes Downer, a Moses supporter). And, thanks to an inspired guess by the Chief, the culprit--no villain he--is soon uncovered. Weak tea, only for the most unsophisticated or easily-upset mystery fans.