Stricken with guilt and pity over the disappearance of Jane Greenwood, the acquaintance she recommended to take the job of cataloguing the late Paul-Henri de Fleury's samples of French wildflowers, Celia Grant agrees to travel to the ChÉteau de Fleury herself to goad the police into action--and drops into the maw of a famille de l'enfer. The naturalist's brother, Jean-Louis, is feuding with his sister's husband, Emile Marchant, over the upkeep of the estate; Jean-Louis's brassy wife, Hortense, whose washing- machine fortune is keeping the family solvent, makes no bones about her dislike of Celia; Jean-Louis's dewy daughter, Anne-Marie, seems trapped between her attachment to her cousin AndrÇ Marchant and the vaguely menacing housekeeper's son, pumped-up peacock Philippe Dupont; and Adrienne de Fleury, doyenne of the chateau, is plainly heading the family in covering up some dread secret about her dead son, who wasn't even buried in consecrated ground. When Inspector Picot, following Celia's lead, discovers Jane's body--stripped, raped, and strangled--in a bog where she'd gone to collect mosses, even Celia wonders if the murder wasn't a routine sex killing. But nagging doubts about the case (why would muggers make off with Jane's last letters home, which Celia was about to turn over to the police? why was Adrienne so intent on getting a British expert instead of a French botanist in the first place? and how did Paul- Henri really die 11 years ago?) lead her back to Paul-Henri's catalogue--and a revelation only a horticulturist like Celia could appreciate. As usual, Sherwood (Creeping Jenny, 1993, etc.) doesn't shirk the plot complications, though botanical amateurs may find those last revelations at once shrill, unconvincing, and anticlimactic.