A quick follow-up to last season's Death of an Englishman--with Nabb now devoting more attention to steady plotting than to her Florence, Italy atmosphere (which was too much in the fore in her wispy, unshapely debut). This time the focus is very much on a single policeman--the Maigret-ish Marshal Guarnaccia, who kindly visits a 90-year-old recluse lady. . . and discovers, next door, a dying, visiting Italian/Dutch jeweler: his last words are ""It wasn't her""; the cause of death is a barbiturate overdose; the general impression is suicide. But the Marshal senses murder in the air and digs into the Florentine-born jeweler's past--especially his relationship with a beloved stepmother who suddenly, unexplainedly deserted her stepson. The past-haunted solution is reminiscent of Agatha Christie (and Christie veterans will guess the twist fairly early on). The mood, however, is even more Simenonesque than before--as the Marshal broods, treks, gets wet, and frets over his own family matters. A likable mixture overall--somewhat slow going, perhaps, but affectionately textured with gentle Italian comedy and more solidly shaped than Death of an Englishman.