Somehow Mr. van der Zee (The Plum Explosion, 1967) contrives to put forth this tale about the portentous murder of an Establishment-bucking labor leader as not only remotely possible but current. Stunned by the shooting death of Baxter Bragg, head of a maverick construction workers' union local, Joe Burke, business agent for another local, gradually begins to realize the implications for his own life and values. Joe remembers (in flashbacks) Bragg's steamroller militancy in fighting the national union brass; Bragg's destruction of the sleazy fabric of collusion; his refusal to be a nice guy. Joe relives his own slide into Bragg's camp and because of his growing identification with the dead man grows a Bragg beard, takes on Bragg's bodyguards, dreams of an alliance with Bragg's young widow. At the close, having assumed a pugnacious stance at the insistence of Bragg's followers and under the threat of assassination, Burke gloomily awaits an uncertain future. With a minimum of slick polemic, the author makes his point and sustains suspense.