Five books into her New Orleans series featuring female homicide cop Skip Langdon (The Axeman's Jazz, 1991, etc.), Smith narrowly misses the bull's-eye with this tale of southern kinships gone awry. Just as Skip and boyfriend Steve arrive at JazzFest producer Ham Brocato's house for a fàte, his lover, gorgeous singer Ti-Belle, rushes in late, opens the door, and discovers Ham's dead body. Skip, taking charge of the case, realizes that Ham's father and stepmother--George and the years-younger Patty--are more concerned with the disappearance of their teenager Melody, whose backpack is found in the house. Did the murderer abduct Melody? Is Melody on the run from a killer she glimpsed? While trying to find the girl, Skip learns much about Ham, his first wife, his stepmother, and his adoring half-sister; she'll also be wounded in a shootout before Brocato family secrets and deceits are bared--and before the real New Orleans-style mourning for Ham can begin. A deftly plotted tale, marred only by its offhand, too quick resolution.