Veteran Australian writer Braddon's first mystery--a gimmicky, predictable tale featuring a serial killer who tucks funnelwebs, deadly Australian spiders, into paraphernalia belonging to his victims: first, in the performing jock of a much beloved ballet star; next, in the exercise shirt of a posh baronet; then, in ajar of massage rub used on a viscount/punk-rocker; and, last, in the jellybeans a certain lord was addicted to. And unless Chief Inspector Cheadle can stop him, the nutter seems hellbent on proceeding up the titled scale--aiming for a royal. But which? Intercutting the Inspector's investigation with the killer's taped memos to himself, the reader very quickly realizes who the menace is, who his final target is, and the dreary reasons that compel him. For a better use of the demonic funnelweb, read Charles West's Funnelweb (1989).