Notwithstanding the urbane title, the main attraction in this adventure for likable Colonel Peter Blair (Death in the Caribbean, etc.) remains nautical--and, as such, things are entirely ship-shape. Blair's missions (he's new working for the Police Liaison Dept. of the Home Office): to infiltrate the shipping firm of Andrew Stavanger, who seems to have disappeared after selling out (under shady conditions) to the giant, shaky, slightly dÃ‰classÃ‰ Ingard Company. Blair meets with evasion and indifference about Stavanger, however--even from Stavanger's daughter Kate, wife of a rabble-rousing Cabinet member. Only Susan Macdonald, the shipowner's long-time secretary, is sympathetic to Blair's quest (especially since she has noticed puzzling changes in the ships' routines). And eventually--after an unidentified body is found on the Thames bank not far from Ingard Co.'s flashy new building--Blair must use his own seamanship (and lots of help in high places) to bring things to a satisfying climax. Anderson in good, low-key form, then: the courtly style never impedes the action--and the port-to-starboard expertise will enthrall anyone who's ever navigated a small boat along risky shores.