The pattern of this tale of investigation into the causes of murder takes this out of the usual run of mystery fiction and makes it a holding novel of family background. The murderer's plot of death works -- almost too well -- but police arrest brings Fairr, private detective, the job of ferreting out how the police found out. Fairr, hired to be watchdog to the dead man, has spent three years in learning all about Jethro Hammer, how he was brought up by the Donahue family, kicked out when the estate was settled, and returned 20 years later to ruin them. Fairr's knowledge of all the facts leaves no chance for the killer. Good.