Nothing in this new case for Scotland Yard's Supt. Richard Jury (The Dirty Duck, etc.) equals its beginning--when sensitive bachelor Jury accidentally meets unhappy Helen Minton, feels an immediate mutual attraction, but returns in a few days to find her dead by poison. After that, unfortunately, it's business-as-less-than-usual for traditionalist Grimes, whose convolutions and ornamentations are thinner here than in previous outings. Jury, seeking out Helen's painter-cousin (father of the illegitimate son she was trying to trace), arrives at a snowbound country houseparty--where old pal Melrose Plant and old flame Vivien Rivington are guests of critic Charles Sealingham and wan wife Grace. Among the other guests: novelist William MacQuade; stately Lady St. Leger, with orphaned nephew Tommy (undercover pool-table terror at a nearby pub, the Jerusalem Inn); and Charles' not-so-secret mistress, romance-writer Beatrice Sleight--who is found shot dead in the snow, wearing Grace's ermine cloak. And, after intensive sleuthing into several family histories (plus a lot of visits to the pub), Jury discovers the connection to Helen's death. . . with a tenuous motive for the killer. Too many byways, aimless chit-chat, and an unconvincing puzzle: the weakest by far of Grimes' mystery-entertainments--but stylishly written enough, certainly, to please many of her admirers.