Having recently lost his job, Gary Weston is vacationing alone on the Costa del Sol (his wife chose to stay home with her hypochondriacal mum) when an old school chum spots him, sets him up with a tootsie, then blackmails him into a clandestine sail (no running lights, etc.), during which they pick up three gun-toting Spaniards at a prearranged spot. A storm brews, a fight ensues, the boat sinks, and Weston escapes. Back in England, he pays a condolence call on his chum's sister, Kate, and returns home to find his wife dead and his mum-in-law accusing him of murder. While the police insist that his motive was to marry someone else (Kate, presumably), Weston sets about unraveling the reasons for that late-night sail--and winds up smack in the middle of a revolution leading back to Franco's Spain and tying in with the murder of his wife. Clever--until Ashford tries to distill two decades of Spanish turmoil into three pages and his plot bogs down in politics. Still, he's become adept at creating beleaguered characters swept into situations of moral ambiguity. There's a Highsmith quality to the suspense here, and a pleasure to be found in the pared-down prose.