Retired Detective Inspector Richard Patton (The Hanging Doll Murder, etc.), peacefully pruning roses in the garden of wife Amelia's inherited house, needs only a note--mailed four months ago, from one Linda Court asking his help--to send him speeding back to the town and the police force he'd left behind. Patton finds that Linda Court had been murdered on the very day the note was sent--in a case still unsolved by his detested successor, Chief Inspector Donaldson. Patton's last case, one that involved Amelia, had left some disenchanted co-workers in its wake, chiefly Tony Brason and his wife Marjie, now a sergeant. His efforts now to gather info on the Court murder are coldly received by one and all, but he manages to talk to members of the amateur theatrical troupe of which Linda was a feared and hated member. He also visits the murder scene near the courthouse in the plush, heavily wooded, sparsely populated Manor Park Estate. Then Marjie Brason, haunted by the thought that she'd not treated Linda's complaints of a series of thefts seriously enough, becomes a second murder victim; Patton continues his dull contretemps with Donaldson, and--at last getting access to the files--picks up a clue that renders alibis useless and changes perspectives. The final scenario is a flawed fiasco--contrived and unreal, like most of this story's characters and events. It isn't boring, though--which is more than one can say for Richard Patton, who should be well and truly retired.