A working-class family in a small English town is the latest focus for Barnard's all-seeing eye and finely-honed scalpel. Lillian Hodsden--over-made-up, henna-ed, vulgar, possessive, and incredibly insensitive--is a harridan of a mother who's savagely but secretly hated by sons Gordon and Brian. And their father Fred is no help: he hasn't the brains to be embarrassed by his ""Lill"". . . or, for that matter, to wonder what she's really up to on Tuesday and Thursday nights. So ex-Army son Gordon, goaded by his longing for young widow Anne Watson (unattainable while Mom's still around), hatches a plot with Brian to murder Lill on Saturday night outside her favorite pub. But before the plan can go into action, the boys are in for quite a shock: they're interrupted at a Thursday night bachelor party with the news that Lill's strangled body has been found. . . exactly where they planned it should be! Enter, then, Chief Inspector Dominic McHale, on his first murder case--a conceited snob eager to clutch greedily at the first obvious suspect, ignoring his fellow officers' observations in his haste to return to the bosom of his social and intellectual equals. But, of course, justice will finally have its ironic innings, Barnard-style. Literate, absorbing, funny, and wise--another character-rich gem from a remarkably consistent master of quiet, convincing suspense in sharply-drawn social milieus.