Combining a tremendously beleaguered, tremendously sympathetic narrator-hero with post-Asilomar worries over the hazards of DNA research, crafty Mr. Bagley comes up with one of his tightest character adventures ever. Malcolm Jaggard is the man-in-between, a British Intelligence officer whose quest for a normal private life is thwarted when his fiancÃ‰e's sister becomes the victim of an acid-throwing attack--an inexplicable incident that leads to an even more inexplicable one: fiancee Penelope's millionaire father decides to disappear. Who is this George Ashton? Malcolm's bosses at Intelligence clue him in: as luck would have it, Mal's intended father-in-law is a Russian genius-scientist defector who has spent 30 years in England, apparently just being a businessman. Or has he been secretly applying his super-mind to current research? Daughter Penelope is in genetics. Could there be a link? If so, where are his research findings hidden--and who's trying to appropriate them? Malcolm locates Ashton in Sweden, but his snow-chase attempt to lure him home ends up with a dead father-in-law-to-be and a hostile ex-fiancÃ‰e, who's preoccupied, in any case, with the safety conditions at a DNA research center in Scotland. A toy-model rail-road worth 31,000 pounds supplies--in marvelous code--many of the answers, but Malcolm must head north to Scotland for the rest of them, exposing himself to the dangers of E. coli and recombinant DNA. Bagley's power-hungry villain needn't have been such a stock-figure, but otherwise this master suspense writer works in full-color depth--the internal backbiting of covert government, the unstoppable momentum of competing scientists. As a result, a solid chunk of fanciful suspense is marbled with factual slivers of lingering fear.