Cassie Swan, divorced and formerly a biology teacher, has in six years built a new career as a bridge instructor. She's running a Winter Bridge Weekend at the countrified but posh Broughton Manor Hotel when she finds, in the card room, the bodies of the other members of a scheduled Sunday morning foursome: retired colonel Plumpton and his wife have apparently been felled by heart attacks, and noted weaver Sonia Wetherhead has had her head bashed in with a marble obelisk. As Cassie sees her hard-won livelihood threatened by the publicity that follows, and as Detective Inspector Mantripp gets nowhere, she begins to investigate on her own. Clumsily, she tries to find connections between the victims and other guests--handsome wine dealer Casaubon; the male novelist who writes popular romances as Felicity Carradine; gardening expert Roy Sowerby; and several others, along with hotel owner Felix Ryland. It's a tedious slog, beset by red herrings and Cassie's long- winded ruminations, ending in a predictably dangerous confrontation. Pluses like the frequently charming Cassie, her outrageously crass but lovable rescuer, and Moody's (Mosaic, etc.) blithe, often caustic style are finally overwhelmed by a bizarrely silly plot and rampant wordiness. Readers may reasonably expect better things to come in this new series by a talented, well-known English writer.