Matthew Hope has sufficiently recovered from his near-fatal shooting (There Was a Little Girl, 1994, etc.) to take on a copyright-infringement case for Elaine Commins, who swears that Gladly, the cross-eyed bear she's designed for her brand-new firm, Just Kidding, wasn't developed while she was working for Brett and Etta Toland of Toyland. They say she's lying; she says they're lying. Despite some nifty drawings showing how Gladly's eyeglasses apparently cure her strabismus, the case would be pretty dull if Brett Toland didn't get himself fatally shot shortly after the defense closes. Against his own advice, Lainie demands that Hope defend her on the Murder One charge (four eyewitnesses place her on BreWs yacht shortly before the shooting), and it's off to the races for Hope and Guthrie Lamb--the new investigator he calls when Warren Chambers and Toots Kiley don't answer the phone because Warren's forcing handcuffed Toots to go cold turkey on a borrowed boat 30 miles offshore. McBain plays out every sweet spin--Hope's client has more cover stories than Brigid O'Shaughnessy--with a master's effortless delight in his craft. Irresistible.