As in A Dressing of Diamond (1974), Freeling deals with an apparently motiveless crime, although one would say offhand that government official La Touche--who killed his wife, daughter and their lover in flagrante--had his reasons. However La Touche insists that the act be dealt with and demands execution. Officer Castang, his wife Vera and an assemblage of French legal and police talent supply the agitation around cool La Touche via some elegant discourse. ""Good bureaucrats like [a trial] rich and complicated--like Christmas pudding."" Or like the Gateau St. Honore which this is, for its special audience.