Scotland Yard's Superintendent Richard Jury (The Deer Leap, etc.)--suffering ennui and at more-than-usual odds with superior officer A.E. Racer--is sole witness to the quiet killing of music-critic Roger Healy by his wife Nell, in the lounge of the Old Silent inn. Nell is withdrawn, enigmatic, and the richest member of Yorkshire's Citrine family--father Charles and his sister Irene--a family involved eight years before in another tragedy when Billy, Roger's son from a first marriage, and his best friend, Toby Holt, were kidnapped and held for ransom. On police advice, Nell chose not to pay. Billy was never seen again. Weeks later, Toby's body was identified by his adopted uncle Owen--victim of a fatal accident, it seemed. Now, near the cheerless Citrine country house is Weaver Hall, where Jury's old friend Melrose Plant is staying for a few days; and Ann Denholme, who runs the place, is aunt to self-sufficient 11-year-old Abby Cable, who lives in the barn with dog Stranger and a collection of pop-star posters. Jury, intrigued though officially out of his jurisdiction, talks to the Citrines, Nell included; to Abby; and to the eccentric boarders at Weaver Hall, trying to find the motive behind Nell's black deed. But the murder of Ann Denholme only deepens the puzzle--until Jury's path leads inexorably to a pulse-quickening climax at a mega-rock-group concert in a packed London hall; to more bloody mayhem; and, finally, to some answers. . . . . .answers that, unfortunately, are not achieved with brevity and barely with clarity. Grimes pursues many seductive byways--Greek mythology; the world of jazz and rock; the skills of sheepherding dogs; designer clothes; the Orient Express. She writes, as always, with charm, authority and ironic wit, but the digressions slow and bloat a story that sags midway but recovers nicely. Overlong and self-indulgent but still a class act.