A surprisingly polished first novel set in the Yorkshire Downs, where Colonel Gerard Willoughby and beautiful wife Consuela run a small, very expensive spa within Castle Aquitaine. Ulcer-ridden Dr. Hugh Godfrey, overweight and on the verge of divorce, finds his fellow guests rather daunting--over-refined Sheila Arbuthnot; tall, fit Walter Von Tenke; phony fading TV personality Jonathan Powers; his cynical mother Edith and longtime mistress Clarissa Pritchett, with whom Godfrey promptly falls in love. It's Powers who finds Von Tenke's murdered body in the solarium pool, causing the Colonel's brother Tom to hire precise, retired tax-inspector G.D.H. Pringle ""to protect the family's interests."" Why that's necessary soon becomes apparent as various connections come to light--the old days in Singapore, shared by several possible suspects, homosexual relationships, blackmail and more--too much more, in fact, diffusing suspense and slowing pace in an otherwise solid story full of acidly drawn characters, wry humor and promise for the future.