In 1909 in East Orange, New Jersey, Oceana Sneed went to her watery grave submersed in a bathtub. Actually she could hardly hold her head up to begin with--she'd been drugged and starved (down to 80 pounds), for weeks attended, dubiously, by three sisters who were only black dresses, veils and gloves. And their home, which would have made the Collier brothers seem house-proud, was full of refuse, including human bones. Equally littered was the trail to the past--debts, wills, unexplained accidents, disappearances, including an estate at one point reputed to be worth a hundred thousand dollars. Mr. Zierold's paper chase is conducted from the morgue to the Tombs where one of the not-so-gentlewomen wasted away, deliberately. A true it--a criminal curio of bona fide fascination.