Living with your relatives can be murder, as advertising executive Fran Calvert learns when she discovers the body of her brother-in-law’s companion behind her home.
Unlike their late father Conrad, who lived a life of leisure, the Calvert brothers have all made their mark: Chip, the eldest, as a financier; Jonathan, the youngest, as a world-renowned cellist; and Fran’s husband Mark as an architect. It was Mark who built The Watersplash, stark and ultramodern, on the grounds of picturesque Membery Place, where his mother Alyssa has turned the vast garden into a showplace that attracts hundreds of visitors each year. When he isn’t on tour, Jonathan stays at Membery with his girlfriend Jilly Norman. So does Chip, with his strange, fey companion, Bibi Morgan, who came to Membery several years ago with her young son Jasie and scant explanation. But while Mark is consulting with a client in Amsterdam, Fran comes home from a long day at O’Sullivan O’Toole to an urgent message from Bibi to see her right away; a later message canceling the meeting; and, finally, Bibi’s corpse. Inspector Dave Crouch and Sergeant Kate Coleville delve into Bibi’s past, but no more than Fran, who wonders about this sudden stranger she’s lived beside all these years.
Eccles, author of the Gil Mayo series (Untimely Graves, 2004, etc.), lavishes mystification on minor plot details, deflating the puzzle that should be at the center of the piece.