A month after a bomb at the Fricker Institute narrowly misses killing its director, Dr. Denzil Thorne, Rev. Cecil Willard, Thorne's unlovable old neighbor in the village of Castle Wyvering, is smothered by an altar cushion in St. Kenelm's. In his search for a connection between the two crimes, Chief Inspector Gil Mayo (More Deaths Than One, 1991, etc.) turns up ever more shopworn secrets: Willard's dutiful daughter Laura has secretly married David Illingworth, the divorcÇ her father opposed to replace the retiring headmaster of Upland House School; Thorne's wayward daughter Phyllida has been carrying on with scapegrace Sebastian Oliver, son of Willard's successor as rector of St. Kenelm's; Oliver's mother, Catherine, has kept her forthcoming book of animal sketches a secret from her husband; and the animal-rights activists Willard irritably opposed were more determined than he imagined. Soothingly familiar fare, with a particularly sharp evocation of the hothouse atmosphere of Castle Wyvering's clerics and pedagogues compensating for Mayo's virtual invisibility this time out.