A tense and menacing first chapter is the best thing in this new Arnold Landon adventure. It's slowly downhill from there. Slightly nerdy Landon, a bachelor and an expert on antique building practices and materials (Most Cunning Workmen, etc.), works for the Northumberland Planning Authority and has before him a case involving Patrick Yates, heir to a huge landholding and manor house, left to him by Colonel Eldridge. Eldridge's distant cousin Robert Francis, suing to break the Colonel's will, is but one of Yates' detractors. There are legions of them--from his housekeeper-mistress Pauline Callington to disgruntled tenant farmers and assorted victims of his womanizing. Landon doesn't much care for Yates, either--or for finding his murdered body, two thirds of the way into the story. Detective-Inspector Culpeper is stumped, but our diffident hero makes connections with the research he's been doing with surly Professor Evesham on some local ruins and pins down the culprit. Rambling and diffuse, with some mildly interesting lore on archery and freemasonry and with a few mildly diverting characters. Nothing here to quicken the pulse, however.