When the crowd recedes from an anti-nuke rally in quiet Eastvale, crowd-controlling P.C. Edwin Gill lies dead. Chief Inspector Alan Banks (A Dedicated Man, p. 698, etc.), left alone for two weeks while his wife and children visit her ailing father, has to deal not only with the mystery of who stabbed bullying P.C. Gill--the knife is swiftly traced to Maggie's Farm, home to mellow, aging radical Seth Cotton and a pick-up commune including, among others, gentle Mara Delacey and troubled Paul Boyd--but with the problems of fending off the usual pangs of lust for psychologist Jenny Fuller (now involved with Dennis Osmond, another suspect), and dealing with officious, womanizing Supt. Richard (``Dirty Dick'') Burgess, a Scotland Yard interloper who won't stick at anything for fast results. Alan smokes, drinks, frets, and otherwise behaves like an increasingly attractive human being en route to a denouement right out of Ruth Rendell's second drawer. Fans of British procedurals should get to know this appealing series.