In a jubilant comeback from last year's rather pallid Last Ditch, Dame Ngaio re-establishes herself as a peerless practitioner of the slightly surreal, English-village comedy-mystery. Knowingly old-fashioned but astoundingly fresh in her highspirited attack, Marsh gives us the last word in murder victims--rich, vain hypochondriac Sybil Foster, who goes off for a rest cure to posh Greengages and is promptly found dead, a supposed suicide. Suicide? Of course not, and the suspects investigated by ageless Roderick Alleyn include Sybil's seductive doctor (a professional cad), her ne'er-do-well, unsanitary stepson (known to all as ""Charmless Claude""), a Scots-accented gardener named Gardener, and a nouveau-riche tycoon neighbor who has been coveting Sybil's gorgeous Georgian house. The only benefits missing: a surprise ending and Alleyn's painter wife, Troy, who is much talked about but never appears. Still--a generous stageful of embraceable characters and an unforced triumph of the grand, smiling style.