Competent, self-effacing Arnold Landon (A Wisp of Smoke, etc.) has been moved from the Northumberland planning office to the Department of Museums and Antiquities--an area well suited to his expertise in medieval stone masonry and architecture. His first assignment is to meet a deadline--compiling material for a brochure on ancient tower houses in the district--initially the job of co- worker Kevin Anderson, who's suddenly disappeared, leaving behind only skimpy, inaccurate notes. Several days later, Anderson's journalist wife Lynne and her lover Lance Stevens are found shot to death in Lance's cottage. Meanwhile, Arnold enlists the help of old friend Ben Gibson and novelist-historian Jane Wilson in exploring the sites relevant to his assignment, turning up some odd puzzles in the process. Why was a painting of Christ concealed in a false ceiling at the Old Rectory? Why is the shield of the DeBojun family--once rulers of the area--sometimes barred, sometimes not? Is the so-called Tarset Treasure reality or myth? Did Lynne Anderson's series of articles on historic houses have anything to do with her death? The quest for truth forces Landon to the edge of destruction, but he gets his answers and saves an innocent man from a murder charge. Landon's passion for technical and historical detail, plus a plethora of subplots, dulls the pacing and power of the story. It'll be most enjoyed by readers who share Landon's specialized interests.