Calavairnonce Southern Californiais an island of civilization in Noel's postholocaust world. Ruled by a rich, secretive and powerful monastic order resembling the Catholic Church, the society has substituted its newly abundant psychic powers for lost scientific abilities. Therein lies a crucial conflict, for the church seeks to control all such powers while the university wants to study them properly, and a third group, the renegade kindlewitches, uses them for evil purposes. The bizarre death of the church's leader, Speaker to Heaven, and other disturbances of a magical nature bring in detective Wolf, who must sort out the prime suspects among the most powerful secular and religious figures in their small world. This work by the author of The Duchess of Kneedeep is literate and well crafted, but its premisesmurder in the monastery, a detective among magicianshave been much better handled by others.