Cassandra Swann is a middle-aged bridge expert living in the Cotswolds. This description may sound overly cozy, but the novel avoids terminal cuteness. Moody's fourth Swann story is dynamic, funny, and brilliantly plotted, right to the very end. When Cassie goes to visit occasional bridge partner Naomi in the hospital, she has no idea that she will soon find herself investigating the woman's murder. In a clever running joke, Cassie keeps trying to tell people that she and Naomi barely knew each other; nevertheless, Cassie is soon endangered by con men and stalkers and sorting through her not-even-friend's history of molestation. As with the best mystery puzzles, it is never clear until the very end who did what to whom--or who whom really is. The sweet little subplot about Cassie's personal life should whet readers' appetites for more details about Cassie and her ever-reliable friend Charlie. Ilene Cooper
From Kirkus Reviews
A fourth adventure for Cassandra Swann (King of Hearts, 1996, etc.)--zesty, zaftig, divorced--who's now starting up a business as a bridge instructor from her cottage in the Oxford countryside. Meanwhile, preoccupied with computer technology and taking wary note of a mysterious stalker in a white car, she finds time for a visit to a sick friend--poor (but rich) Naomi, who thinks her husband has been trying to kill her. Later, when Naomi's found an apparent suicide, strangers converge to convince Cassie that murder has occurred--among them are Naomi's muscular lover Philip and her needy, punk-haired daughter Lucy, returned from the secret exile of adoption (Naomi had always claimed to be childless). Cassie sleuths her way through multiple crimes and even finds the stalker, aided not at all by her moody policeman sometime-lover Paul and a little too much by her boisterous would-be lover Charlie, who turns out to be both sexually sensitive and rich. This latest in Moody's series shows some signs of having been written too speedily, including excessive personal-life padding, grammatical gaffes, and a lurid climax--all remediable by a more carefully worked final draft. Still, Cassie is lively, pleasant company. And the transatlantically accessible enjoyment Moody provides her readers puts a gloss on any number of gaucheries. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.