In a first mystery, England-based Kelly introduces Little Hopford village inspector Nick Trevellyan and the area's new resident--former Londoner, computer-whiz Alison Hope--who bickers mightily with her cousin and former Hope Softwear partner Aidan (she bought him out, she says) and becomes suspect #1 when Aidan is bashed to death in his room over the Bird-in-Hand pub. Increasingly tetchy and unpolicemanlike as he's drawn to Alison, Nick casts about for other suspects--and finds Ashcroft, argumentative publisher of the Valley Voice paper, the recipient of several anonymous letters; Aidan's estranged, embittered wife Judith; and Irish terrorist Gerard Doherty, who was following Aidan, hunting down the 20,000 pounds he scampered away with. Another murder occurs, and Alison is also almost dispatched, before Nick unravels a love-soured cui bono story. Kelly spends more time describing Alison's red hair and green eyes than defining her character, and the lovelorn Nick is unfortunately bland. First in a series, which needs more thought and charm to qualify as an engaging British cozy read.