Burley's 21st police procedural centered in Cornwall and featuring the CID's introspective Chief Superintendent Charles Wycliffe and his sidekick, Detective Inspector Doug Kersey (Wycliffe and the House of Fear, 1996, etc.). Red-haired, twentysomething Morwenna Barker, after a mysterious two-week absence from her job as assistant to Falmouth bookdealer Simon Meagor, has been found dead in her yellow Mini at the bottom of a quarry. Morwenna had asked for work at Meagor's shop even though, years before, Meagor's testimony had put her father in jail for six years--only to commit suicide shortly after his release, Meagor suspected that Morwenna was out for revenge but, in his wimpy way, did nothing. Wycliffe, called in when the girl's death begins to look like murder, soon discovers that she has an older brother, born out of wedlock and adopted by Drs. Raymond and Florence Cross. The two were the focus of a police investigation some years back, when Raymond, a psychiatrist, vanished--and never reappeared. Florence still lives in the gloomy house called Ventenbos, now with companion Isobel Wilde as well as crippled son Julian. Wycliffe has barely begun to explore Morwenna's connection to Ventenbos when a bizarre discovery and another death bring puzzles old and new to a grim conclusion. A clutch of interesting characters and steadily mystifying plot make this by far the best of the author's recent outings.