More gothic-romance/suspense from Ballard (Cry at Dusk, etc.)this time as Jane Cannon, jilted a year before, returns to Sweetsprings, Georgia, to house-sit for her traveling parents. Neighbors are choleric Eulonia Moody; her spoiled rotten daughter Shelba Jean; handsome divorcÇe Chloe Applegate, who, among other things, writes a local gossip column; and Miss Baby Kennemore, a retired Latin teacher who owns the forbidding nearby acreage called Widow's Woods. Jane has barely settled in when Chloe is found murdered in Miss Baby's swimming pool, rousing echoes of the unsolved killing of young, pregnant Etta Lucas some months before. Satanic rites seem to be a frequent occurrence in Widow's Woods; Shelba Jean disappears; so does Jane's feisty grandfather. There are also disguised identities; family secrets uncovered; another murder and a plethora of shadowy figures, unsigned notes, heart- stopping noises, etc., before it's all overwith a mildly surprising culprit and a new romance for Jane. Amiable down-home flavor but overplotted and overwrought.