Smart, sturdy professor-sleuth Roz Howard and her erudite-to-a-fault British boyfriend Alan Stewart (Garden of Malice) are vacationing along the coast of Maine in Roz's Aunt Jessie's old but seaworthy sailboat. But close quarters with Alan--who excels in everything, sailing included, and who's not loath to take charge--have resulted in a lovers' quarrel. A short picnic on the deserted island called Restitution promises a welcome diversion--until things turn serious when the pair come upon the body of Peter Onterdonck, the island's owner, on the beach. The circumstances spell out accident to the local authorities but not to Alan, who's convinced it was an ingeniously executed murder. He and Roz adopt the case as their own and proceed to investigate other boats in the area, one of which belongs to Peter's cousin Roger Fell, owner of Restitution's sister island Rebel. Roger has plans to develop his island, an idea that was horrifying to Peter, an ardent conservationist who was exploring every means to block his cousin's scheme. Meanwhile, there was another ship glimpsed near the island--a mysterious vessel that turns out to be a key element in the puzzle. Unfortunately, though, the reader not turned on by reams of information about sail-boats, windy expositions on detective lore, and puns abounding may be lone gone before the well-reasoned, complex, and sometimes exciting denouement. A clever plot--but a show-offy, self-indulgent style. The author's engaging heroine deserves better.