Th body of Lady Ann Wallington's rich, much-older husband is nowhere to be found--but buckets of blood, two spent bullets (from Lady W.'s gun), and a pile of blood-stained clothes have turned up in and about Garton Grange. Thus, the police (who are an implausibly inept crew here) charge Lady W. with murder; and her defense counsel is hard-working, hard-drinking, tax-burdened Steven Kale. . . who's immediately smitten by his new client (despite marriage to long-suffering Barbara). Lady W., however, isn't very cooperative: she refuses to explain her many night-long absences from home. And there are other mysteries: the whereabouts of a fortune in used bills; the significance of a pile of newspaper clippings about a local strangler's rampage. First-novelist Jon weaves all this into a complex, intriguing puzzle, with strong courtroom scenes and a neat portrait of frustrated, driven Kale. The explanations, however, don't live up to the questions; there's an appalling dependence on coincidence; and Jon's writing is often clumsy. Still, there's a real storytelling gift on display here--so this is a promising, if shaky, debut for a newcomer to the British-courtroom subgenre of Michael Underwood et al.