Just a week before he took a conveniently fatal tumble off a ladder, underachieving computer nerd Geoffrey Kavanagh had begun to flash on memories of the night 20 years earlier when his father, Leighton, was supposedly killed by a burglar who didn't take anything but a ring belonging to Geoffrey's mother, Marguerite--and the murder gun. New Orleans cop Skip Langdon (Jazz Funeral, 1993, etc.), tentatively checking into TOWN (The Original Worldwide Network), to which Geoffrey had confided his dimly renewed memories, finds dozens of messages from TOWNsfolk across the country who are sure both Leighton and Geoffrey were murdered--and from several local TOWNies who may know much more: TOWN mayor Pearce Randolph, a reporter who covered the first murder; Geoffrey's girlfriend, Lenore Marquer, a practicing witch; Suby Kavanagh, daughter of Marguerite's brother-in-law-turned-second- husband; and Kit Brazil, another witch, who was the first wife of Marguerite's third husband. Smith worms her way deeply and painfully into her sorry cast's layers and layers of past relations, getting deeper than ever into Skip as well. Even the windup--a virtuoso spin on Rashomon--is laced with grief. A poisonous bouquet from a still-rising star.