In the middle of loading biochemist Noel Cochrane's black Lab dog, Jove, into his car so that Noel can remove him from quarantine for a posting to the States, John Cunninghman (Sting in the Tail, 1995, etc.) looks up to see that his car is gone, along with his shotgun, a briefcase of Noel's, and Jove. Which of these items did the woman auto thief really want? It isn't long before the coppers find a burning vehicle in a lay-by 15 miles off--but it's not John's clunker, though the dead woman inside is the thief. Why was she killed over such a modest crime; how can John recover Jove, suspected of spreading rabies ever since he was nipped from quarantine; and what's become of Noel, now as missing as his dog? With even more than his accustomed dexterity, Hammond uses a deceptively small crime as his entrâ€še to a satisfyingly complex conspiracy. One of the happiest of Hammond's Highland flings.