Babson's heroine for this below-par outing is Trudi Kane, an American singer-pianist working a stint at the Phoenix, a popular pub in and English seaside town--a town with more than a few troubles. There's local monster Johnny, a 13-year-old whose independent ways include blackmail and shoplifting. (Johnny's mum Norms sleeps her life away between visits to a husband vegetating in a local nursing home.) There's the town's recent history of motorcycle gangs on the rampage. And there's an unsolved murder from the previous summer--now followed by two new murders (one of them Johnny's), with nervous Trudi apparently next in line: she's been getting bad vibes from an anonymous member of her audience. As usual, the prolific Babson writes with easy verve--at her best when sketching in the life at Trudi's boarding-house, its residents (a rum lot of seaside entrepreneurs) and its warm-hearted owner (ex-actress Daisy Dayton). But Trudi's a weak heroine, the plot is full of loose ends, the motivation is formless--and, especially when it descends into one of those longwinded, last-minute confessions, this is second-string Babson, readable but unsatisfying.