A fourth appearance for inquisitive playwright Augustus Maltravers, now relaxing in Cornwall while actress-girlfriend Tess appears in a production at the Porthennis ampitheater. Then a neighbor, aged sculptor Martha Shaw, is felled by one of her own statues; and Maltravers, an inveterate dissecter of motives, suddenly finds himself immersed in a psychic's twinges, a past love's forebodings, and the postwar beginnings of the Porthennis School, of which Martha Shaw was a charter member and her companion, Ruth Harris, a tolerated hanger-on. The remaining members of the artistic community, a geriatric band of old-line communists, fall under Maltravers' suspicious eye, as does a malevolent dwarf named Nick. Research (and psychic hunches) prompt Maltravers to query the long-ago death of Porthennis arts' benefactor Agnes Thorpe, her love for a lifelong capitalist, and the relationship, if any, they had to Martha's Catholic conversion and, sorrowfully, her murder. A small, literate English mystery with one unfortunate flaw (that ill-tempered dwarf) but many plusses--among them, the setting, the tone, the puzzle, and its resolution.