Hundreds of childless couples converge on the village of Mauthen Barbary, in Norfolk, to pray to the 16th-century Lady of Promise--a massive, carved, black, pregnant Virgin recently unearthed on the estate of aged aristocrat-scholar Charles Griffin. And, while Charles devotes all his energy and resources to the statue's proper enshrinement, others in the village also become involved: businessman Philip Cass and his beautiful, barren wife Joanna; Philip's statue-enthralled sister Rachel; tormented sculptor Paul Falkener, who's hired to reproduce the carving; ugly, ardent Women's Libber Lydia Massingham; and the nebbishy vicar, Lionel Persimmer. Will murders ensue? Indubitably: first Rachel, and a few days later Charles himself (strangled). So: enter sensitive Inspector Benjamin Jurnet--who'll uncover the mundane motive buried in all the emotional hoopla. That solution is a disappointment here; and so are the overabundant red herrings that slow the pace. But the richness of language and characterization place Haymon squarely in the Sayers tradition--and this semi-successful debut for Inspector Jurnet promise even better entertainments ahead in that most civilized of genres.