When new evidence in a 1963 murder case leads to a new trial for nanny Cissy Kohler, who's been serving a life sentence for killing her employer's wife Pam Westropp, peerlessly curmudgeonly Mid-Yorkshire Chief Supt. Andrew Dalziel drugs D.C.I. Peter Pascoe into the reopened investigation, trying to defend the judgment of Dalziel's mentor Inspector Walter Tallantire, who made the arrest, against the insinuations of South Thames investigating chief Geoffrey Hiller. The case groans under the eminence of the politicos and royal connections involved and the weight of its staggering complexities--did Sir Ralph Mickledore, who was executed for the murder, pull the trigger at the instigation of Cissy? why did Cissy, who never denied her guilt, suddenly seek parole 13 years after her conviction and just as suddenly abandon it? why is the witness whose long-suppressed testimony abruptly freed Cissy found dead?--but the salt-and-pepper inquiries of Dalziel and Pascoe, especially a flying trip that leads to the tabloid headline "CROCODILE DALZIEL," are pure pleasure. Not quite the equal of the sterling Bones and Silence (1990), but several lengths ahead of the current competition.