Tiny Abbotsbourne in southeast England is again the setting for historical-novelist Hardwick's second adventure (Malice Domestic), here involving antique-dealer amateur-sleuth Doran Fairweather, her frustrated widower, suitor Vicar Rodney Chelmarsh, and the fly in the ointment--his crippled, demanding daughter Helena. The suspect purchase of a rare clock by Doran's gay, not-too-ethical partner Howell Evans leads her and Rodney to a busman's holiday in Stratford Country, where Doran's memory places the clock in Honeyford House, the failing-down mansion of dotty Lady Easterlake. There Doran finds many missing treasures, and meets with local dealer Tony Taddeus, looking for clues to their disappearance. Later, the murder of Melody Lee, in whose tacky shop Doran had Spotted one of those treasures, is disquieting, but Doran's total disappearance a day after throws Rodney into a tailspin. He and Howell work together to find her, racing against time, uncovering another killing on the way. They succeed, of course--Doran is saved, justice triumphs, and love finds a way. Credible motivation is lacking here; the narrative is overburdened with esoteric poetry; Rodney remains a wimp even with heroics, and there's a surfeit of sweetness and light. All in all, then: strictly for those who like a little detection with their romance--and a disappointment after the author's debut in the genre.