A second puzzle for Drummond's elderly, talkative sleuth Matilda Worthing (Thy Sting, O'Death, 1985), whose aged aunt Lady Fairgrief has summoned her to the home of the Andersons--where an attempt has been made to kill retired general Henry Anderson by spiking his orange juice at Christmas dinner. The general's damaged liver can't handle alcohol, a fact well known to his family--patrician wife Sybil; gay son Cyrus; actor son Ben; and enigmatic daughter Helen, whose loutish boozer of a husband is socially dÃ‰classÃ‰, ditto his blowzy mother Arletta and prickly sister Bette Wanda. They all submit to Matilda's attempt to reconstruct the events leading up to the general's collapse--an attempt that uncovers a host of demeaning secrets in the process, including the one most relevant: the very rich general's threat to change his will. Matilda solves her puzzle tidily enough, but the lack of tension and the dullness of the characters' long-winded chronicles may leave the reader totally uncaring. Soporific.