The Cardigan Protocol, the drug trial that Dr. Paul Meggie's been running for Gilroy Pharmaceuticals, has clearly gone out of control. One of the patients on the placebo has died, leaving a family howling malpractice; so has one of the patients on the real drug; and so has Dr. Meggie himself, an apparent suicide not quite good enough to fool Inspector C.D. Sloan and his canny pathologist. As he struggles to dope out the connections between the Cardigan tests at St. Ninian's and Berebury Hospitals and the lower-order experiments that have earned Gilroy the wrath of animal-rights activists, Sloan (A Going Concern, 1994, etc., etc.) sees the motives for Dr. Meggie's murder mushroom to a truly alarming extent. As clever and literate as ever, though even Aird loyalists will need a Ouija board to pluck the culprit from the drug-trial shallows.