Babson likes to involve children in her stories (Bejewelled Death, 1982, etc.), and they're all over the place in this one. A family of squatters has moved into a house on London's pricey Crozier Crescent. The travel-writer owners are on the move as usual, and the Crescent's residents are confronted one morning with a fait accompli. Elf, short for Elfrida, the friendly, spacey woman of the house, has three children. Poppy, the oldest, is ten--around the age of Emma, daughter of neighbors Kay and Crispian; and of Rupert, son of Sylvia and Jeremy. Sylvia is beside herself with righteous indignation, soon compounded by the addition to the household of registered drug. addict Wade and, worst of all, a black take-charge American seaman named Sinbad. But Kay, Crispian and local social-activist Marjorie have begun to establish friendly relations with the intruders when Elf, pregnant again, is found dead--murdered, according to the autopsy. The killer is revealed before very long; so are some well-hidden neighborhood secrets. All is resolved, but Crozier Crescent will never be quite the same. In a story that owes more to soap-opera than to the mystery genre, there are a few sharply observed characters, some pointed social commentary, and a few poignant moments. Readable and mildly engrossing.