After the excessive curlicues and fripperies of Jerusalem Inn (1984), Grimes is back in top form again--in a darker-toned case that brings on a new detection-partner for Supt. Richard Jury of Scotland Yard (as astute and gentle as ever) and his unofficial sidekick, ex-aristocrat Melrose Plant. This third sleuth is egocentric, charismatic Brian Macalvie of the Devon police, who's particularly disturbed by a series of killings of youngsters in the area: these new murders, you see, remind Macalvie of the years-ago killing of Rose Mulvanney, whose bloody body was found by younger daughter Tessa (who was made catatonic by the ordeal). Who really killed Rose Mulvanney? Onetime medical student Sam Waterhouse went to prison for the crime--he's just been released--but Macalvie is sure that Waterhouse was innocent. So, joined by Supt. Jury, Macalvie looks for connections to the old crime as he investigates the new ones--finding that both past and present clues lead to Ashcroft: the home of Lady Jessica, a ten-year-old orphaned heiress who lives with her guardian/uncle and an ever-changing series of governesses. And soon, thanks to Grimes' customary panache, the pieces all come together. With memorable characters, both minor and major: vintage Grimes--who this time chills the blood without skipping a beat in her elegant (if still sometimes mannered) narration.