The first victim, American silversmith Angela Hope, is found at the bottom of a latrine at Salisbury's Old Sarum ruins. The second, Frances Hamilton, collapses at the Tate Gallery. And the third, Nell Hawes, dies during a visit to the tapestries she'd helped work on at Exeter Cathedral. All are apparently natural deaths -- but the common thread of Angela Hope's Santa Fe, New Mexico, address makes it obvious that they're all murders, and after 200 pages of top-heavy domestic digressions, it's obvious even to Supt. Richard Jury (The Horse You Came In On, 1994, etc.). After the punishing pace of the opening movement, Jury's journey from Salisbury to Santa Fe -- where he'll meet a cartoonish Hollywood agent, the standard run of New Age dreamers and retailers, and an altogether remarkable 13-year-old girl who's the best thing in the book -- comes as a welcome relief from the facetiously complementary detective adventures of wealthy parasite Melrose Plant back home. Even here, though, the mystery plot shimmers and recedes like a desert mirage as Grimes's appetite for episodic whimsies runs unchecked. Grimes seems intent on confirming her status as the successor to Dorothy Sayers, though it's the Sayers of Busman's Honeymoon -- that notorious "love story with detective interruptions" best appreciated by hopeless infatuates of the hero.