Chief Superintendent Wycliffe at his most introspective as he confronts the murder, ineptly disguised as suicide, of Tony Miller, estate foreman of the Duloe estate, spread along the Fal river in Wycliffe's peaceful Cornish turf. Lord Hugh and Lady Cynthia Bottrell live in the shabby manor house, with Hugh's psychologist brother James, a bachelor, and lawyer Simon Lander, wife Beth, and daughter Jean occupying cottages on the grounds. The homosexual bond between Miller and Bottrell is soon uncovered, but more pressing is the disappearance of young Lizzie Biddick, a maid at the manor house, on the eve of her departure (with unexpectedly ample funds) for London. Wycliffe moves thoughtfully among these chatty neurotic characters, until events precipitate a crisis in which he manages to rescue yet another victim. Contrived motivation, unconvincing relationships, slow-motion pace, and a Wycliffe detached and sluggish add up to tepid stuff- -well below the Burley norm (Wycliffe and the Winsor Blue, etc., etc.).