Nosy, nervy San Francisco investigator Sharon McCone (Ask the Cards a Question) gets a panicky summons from old friend Jake Kaufmann, finds him murdered, and is soon looking into Jake's latest job: a ""creative"" house-painter, he was working on rundown Victorian houses as part of a restoration project--a shoe-string operation run by David Wintringham and disagreeable ex-music-promoter Larry French. Could Jake's murder be tied in some way to the unsolved killing of Wintringham's father three years before? Or to the surfacing of some Tiffany lamp replicas from the workshop of a lighting specialist called Prince Albert? Well, everyone's hiding something, including French's girlfriend Charmaine and elegant preservationist Eleanor Van Dyne. But Sharon gets no help from Lieutenant Greg Marcus of Homicide (her would-be lover); and it takes one of those suicidal confrontations with the killer, common to girl-sleuths, to wind things up. Lots of doggedly eccentric people and a well-managed plot--but the most alive things in this story (as artificial as Muller's others) are those dandy Victorian houses.