Another overcomplex, overwritten puzzle from Ormerod (Dead Ringer), whose ex-policeman hero Richard Patton doesn't improve with age and retirement. He and girlfriend Amelia, a dabbler in watercolors, are spending two weeks at Fillingley Manor, country-estate art school owned by suave painter Bruce Fillingley. Also present are ex-policeman painter Roy Towers and nemesis Carla Race, whose husband Walter is serving time for the murder of Griff Pierce. Seems that Towers and Pierce were both her lovers when Pierce was killed and Towers helped nail Walter for the crime. Now Carla is accusing Towers of a railroad job. Shy Samantha Penney, Adonis-type Rex Lightfoot, nebbishy potter Bert and aggressively competent Veronica, along with Towers' estranged wife Marion, round out this busy but lifeless group. True boredom sets in after the murder of Towers, shot to death at his easel after completing a still life containing the murder weapon. As Patton agonizes over alibis, substitutions, motives, and shadows abounding with threats, it's (to quote one of his characters) ""niggle, niggle"" all the way. In all: a waste of time and of the talent evident in The Hanging Doll Murder.