It's tough enough returning from the dead--and Taibo's prefatory note blithely disclaims any knowledge of how HÇctor Belascoar†n Shayne survived the hail of bullets that apparently killed him at the unhappy end of No Happy Ending (1993)--without having to go back to punching a time clock, and Belascoar†n is in no hurry to take the case foisted on him by a would-be client named Alicia. But Alicia is inventive and persistent, and at length Belascoar†n agrees to shadow Luke Estrella, the Cuban who drove his wife, Alicia's sister Elena, to cocaine and early death. Joining forces with a gringo reporter, Belascoar†n soon realizes that killing Elena is the least of Estrella's crimes, and certainly the most mundane of his adventures. Under various aliases, Estrella has cut the hands off the dead Che Guevara, fixed prices in the international cocaine trade, trafficked in arms for the Nicaraguan contras, hobnobbed with pornography publishers and archeological looters, and--together with a transnational corporate attorney and a loose-cannon CIA op-- served as a judge for the Se§orita Bikini Acapulco '88 competition. The story of how Belascoar†n brings this cartoon monster of evil down with the help of an avenging mariachi band is an engaging pendant to his HÇctorless epic Leonardo's Bicycle (1995). Fans of Mexico City's greatest one-eyed detective will be overjoyed to find him not only alive and dyspeptic as ever but deeply smitten with his client: ``How he loved her. She was the ideal woman for a suicide pact.''