A new scene--and third venture (Larkspur, Skylark)--for California's ex-bookstore-owner Lark Dodge. Here, she and policeman-professor husband Jay have moved to a tacky house on Shoalwater Peninsula in Washington State, hoping the quiet life will spur Lark's pregnancy. But life there turns out to be not so quiet when new neighbor Bonnie Bell has a bag of dead seagulls left on her porch; writer Tom Lindquist's house down the road is set afire--and his ex-wife Cleo is found murdered on a nearby beach. It all seems related to the proposed development of some seashore land--a prospect being bitterly opposed by newspaper editor Annie McKay, married to Bob, scion of the Peninsula's richest and most influential family. Meanwhile: Who killed Cleo? That puzzle gets short shrift in the chronicle of domestic doings that absorb Lark and her neighbors. Scraping, sanding, painting, arranging furniture; salad-, soup-, and pie-making--the reader gets a rundown on all of it, and more. The murder solution, when it finally arrives, is pallid and inconclusive by contrast. Breezy, harmless stuff--but the author's talents might be better used in a how-to.