The murder of author/ex-Army officer Ken Andrews seems far removed from shy, middle-aged bachelor Arnold Landon (The Devil is Dead, 1990, etc.), a planning officer in Durham, until he's asked by publisher Peter Aspen to finish the book on Rosicrucians that Andrews was writing. After the police, headed by Detective Inspector Greybrook and his blustery superior Redvers, arrest a local vagrant for the murder, and after Landon is suddenly suspended from his job on trumped-up charges, sinister connections to all sorts of corruption begin to surface. Landon finds an ally in scholarly, forthright novelist Jane Wilson, an ardent supporter of the vagrant. Together, they unearth Andrews's sordid background and eventually become targets of the killer in a tense hide-and- seek across the woods and gullies on the edge of town. In this latest appearance from Landon, his reluctant attraction to Jane Wilson--plus the absence of the author's frequent concentration on medieval architecture--lends a lighter, livelier air to a steadily diverting story.