Likable, conscientious barrister Steven Kale (The Wallington Case) returns--now defending neighbor Dr, Chris Stifling, who's been charged with rape by shady Judy Smith. Stirling's alibi? That he was home with wife June at the crucial time. But this alibi soon proves shaky--especially since June apparently spends many evenings mysteriously away from home (neither spouse will give details). And suspicions mount when drugs are found missing from Stirling's stock. . . and when, several weeks before the trial, June is found murdered. Still, the trial proceeds anyway, with a surprising verdict--followed by some perfunctory, unconvincing solutions to the other mysteries. Throughout, in fact, plot and character development are flabby and tentative here, with the police portraits (zombies all) especially implausible. But Jon again shows a crisp, authoritative feel for the courtroom, and the puzzle is intriguing--so undemanding mystery-readers with a weakness for trial-procedure may find this passable entertainment.