One of the best so far in the erratic Superintendent George Rogers series, this case begins when a small-time thief uncovers a partly mummified corpse in an unoccupied house once lived in by Judith and Harry Quint. The body, a three-months-pregnant woman, is identified as Judith herself--a rich, promiscuous matron whose husband (now found living in London) is a haggardly handsome, philandering, hottempered painter of birds. But Harry claims not to have seen or heard from Judith in five years--and the same claim is made by Judith's frail, scarred sister Ruth and pallid brother-in-law Charles. So Rogers' investigation turns elsewhere--to Judith's onetime lover, army officer Geoffry; to the Quint gardener Joe Ryker, who has also been missing (unmourned) for five years; and to another lover--smarmy masseur Hignett. And there's a tricky, surprising solution to come. . . when the Quint house burns down, revealing Ryker's body in the ruins. Crisp and straightforward, only slightly bogged down by Rogers' love affair with police pathologist Bridget--a sturdily entertaining comeback after last year's Dark Blue and Dangerous.