Dwarf-detective-professor ""Mongo"" Frederickson of Shadow of a Broken Man (1977) returns--and again Chesbro has saddled him with an uncoordinated and overheated plot that never gives this intriguing character room to breathe. Hired by his old circus boss to track down a missing Iranian strongman performer, Mongo (who teaches criminology at N.Y.U.) is soon mired in Iranian politics on and off campus: are Iranian Secret Police (SAVAK) active in America, with CIA approval? Has the anti-Shah group, GEM, infiltrated SAVAK? After almost being shot and crushed to death by that vicious strongman. Mongo is lured to Iran--his cop brother has gone there to avenge the death of his Iranian girlfriend--where things get ever more complicated (a personal plea from the Shah) and ever more physically unpleasant (the bad guys infect Mongo with cholera). Chesbro has given his distinctive hero a solid N.Y. ambience and a perfectly viable hard-boiled, joke-edged voice, but here the dwarf is too busy being bamboozled and persecuted to engage our interest or affection. More Mongo, please, but without the fuzzy politics, the camels, and the intricately predictable spy-twists.