Rendell's last few books haven't been up to her extraordinarily high standard, but Chief Inspector Wexford's first appearance since The Veiled One (1988) is cause for celebration. The crime under investigation—the murder of monstrous old novelist Davina Flory, her younger MP husband Harvey Copeland, and her daughter Naomi, along with the shooting of granddaughter Daisy—is thick with mysteries beyond whodunit: What were the two criminals looking for beyond a bit of jewelry? How did they make their escape? What's happened to Naomi's business partner, Joanne Garland, and what's her connection to Daisy's father, George (Gunner) Jones? What links the killings to a fatal bank-robbery a year before? Wexford, ruefully treating Daisy as a replacement for his beloved actress daughter Sheila, who's deserted him for an obnoxious, postmodern novelist, patiently sifts the stories of the large cast, setting off the string of quiet, continuous, steadily deepening revelations of character that are the hallmark of Rendell's best work. No matter that the final revelation is at once surprising, predictable (Rendell falls back on one of the oldest cliches of the genre), and anti-climactic. The story marks a masterful return to form for the supreme living exponent of the English detective story.