Here, the author's writer/sometime-sleuth Patience McKenna (Rich, Radiant Slaughter, etc.), accompanied by pregnant pal Phoebe, goes back to her upper-class roots in Waverly, Connecticut--where her mother is busy preparing for Patience's wedding to Nick Carras, and where a clutch of eccentric relatives is on hand for the funeral of black-sheep Great-uncle Ephram Aurelius. In the midst of bickering about Ephram's right to be buried in the family cemetery, Aunt Cordie, a convert to New Age mysticism, goes into a noisy trance and Great-aunt Felicia, despised by all, quietly collapses and dies. Poison or a heart attack? Police Chief Tommy Dick awaits the autopsy report. Patience, meanwhile, pays an early morning visit to girlhood chum Delia Grantham, recently married to New Age guru and local celeb Damon Rask. Patience finds Rask in a half-stupor and her friend hanging from a greenhouse rafter. She learns too of the year-ago death of old Will Marsh--which may or may not have been an accident. All the mayhem, it turns out, is connected to a dispute over ownership of a strip of land in the area. But the killer, finally pinned down by Patience, is as undermotivated, unfocused, and unreal as the rest of this chirpy, confused saga--which tries to be airy and urbane but ends up insensitive, irritating, and flat-footed.