Detective Inspector Richard Patton's peaceful retirement (Guilt on the Lily, etc.) is once again disrupted when his wife Amelia's old college friend Olivia Dean, a successful writer of romances, asks for his help. The house on the Norfolk Broads that she shares with husband Philip was broken into while they were away. They claim nothing was stolen, but some Earl Grey tea bags were left by the intruder. Richard, making use of old police contacts, soon tracks the thief--who was hired by Mark Ruston, son of the area's most prominent boat repairman, to steal a pair of photographs from Olivia's house. They show the body of Ruston's sister Nancy, found accidentally drowned months before. With some tortuous sleuthing, Richard eventually uncovers the link between the Rustons and Olivia--one that threatens Olivia's productive career in the eyes of Philip, who manages that career. Was Nancy murdered? Richard leaves the question unanswered until months later when a second death forces him to face that probability and the culprit involved--in a wordy, interminably drawn, out denouement that isn't one at all. Lifeless characters given to endless introspection and overfancy plotting that fails to convince add a downer to the oeuvre of an author whose cleverness can be self-defeating.