On the small Caribbean island of Antigua, Sergeant Winston Hope is the first black assistant police commissioner in the island's history. His brother-in-law, however, is a ne'er, do-well petty jewel-thief, and when he robs some visiting yachts in Antigua and hies off to New York with the stones, he is running to his death. When his horribly mutilated body is found floating in New York harbor, Sergeant Hope is ordered to Manhattan for an unofficial investigation. Was the murder Mafia-related and did it signal something about the terrible drug traffic in Antigua? First-novelist Lauder masterfully weaves red herrings into meaningful plot lines. The murder is tied to arms smuggling between the Caribbean and a group of Irish terrorists who are intent on assassinating Queen Elizabeth on Derby Day at Epsom Downs. The Queen will be murdered while visiting the paddocks on the day of the great race, by an assassin masquerading as a stable boy. But which horse will be the beard? At this point, we meet Jeremy Carvill, a horse trainer who has come into his own at last. By not resisting the homosexual advances of a vastly wealthy Arab, Carvill--though married--is allowed to build up the Arab's stable and at last to buy the most expensive colt in racing history, Noble Lord, at $15 million. We follow the track record of Noble Lord as the incredible horse is set in place for the Derby. The horse's power and his jockey's tactics during the races are the book's high points, though there are several non-equine shocks (a pair of gorgeous 16-year-old twins giving a sex show for Carvill and his Arab, a marked man's murder by being chewed alive by rats, and so on) along the way to the fateful climax. Lauder's characterizations have some weight on the page, and the climax, though familiar stuff, has energy. All in all: top-drawer thriller work.