Though not quite as confused as Death in Donegal Bay (p. 658), this new mystery for California's Brock Callahan (ex-footballer, ex-shamus, now independently wealthy) is again a dullish tangle--with too much talk and far too many characters who are barely sketched, let alone fully drawn. The troubles begin when fat Mrs. Carl Lacrosse starts harassing Brock's neighbors: 70-ish socialite-vamp Carol Medford and her live-in friend, bygone filmstar Fortney Grange. Is Mrs. Lacrosse a blackmailer? Where is her husband, famous photographer Carl? Why is her son Joel joining a nearby, shady cult? And how are these subplots all connected to the murder of Fortney Grange's agent? Brock hears about most of the developments second-hand. Only after much wan repartee with wife Jan does Brock finally do some legwork--in Arizona. And the secrets he dredges up there are eventually revealed--amid some clumsy shootout melodrama. Creaky stuff, genially but limply told.