It isn't enough that the crowd of golfers, backers, moneymen, and hangers-on assembled for the opening of Witches' Hill, the Marquis of Kinture's sparkling new course, are collectively so far off the testosterone meter that any of them could have slit the throat of Kinture's partner, Michael White, as he sat in his bath in the clubhouse. No, because just as Assistant Chief Constable Robert Skinner's crew are casting their nets over the illustrious assemblage, an anonymous note to the Scotsman cryptically suggests that the killing is the fulfillment of an ancient witch's curse--a curse that has three more rounds to run. Skinner, still reeling from the news that his daughter had been shacking up with his ladies'-man protÇgÇ Andy Martin (whom she's now run out on in a frenzy of mutual recriminations), realizes to his astonishment that his knowledge of the curse comes to him via his late first wife. Her taped testimony from beyond the grave sets him on the trail of a 400-year-old mystery he solves in time to christen the new course himself with a splendidly improbable climactic round of golf. Though Skinner's fourth case (Skinner's Trail, p. 644) lacks the headlong momentum of his early work, it's the most polished and mystifying of them all--and a convincing illustration of Jardine's growing versatility.