A name-dropping, in-joke-y murder mystery with--like William Marshall's similar, better Sci Fi, 1981--an sf-convention backdrop: during a heated panel discussion, out jumps a Darth Vader wielding a zap gun and a flashcube, and unpleasant committee organizer Dorothy Dodds keels over dead. Natural causes? (Dorothy had a weak heart.) Or was she cleverly electrocuted? (Burns on her hands.) Enter the sleuths: genial Frank Kung of the San Diego P.D. and down-to-earth English prof. Athena Pierce, who soon zero in on nervous, gangling Joe Finster, unlikely author of an award-winning sf story. Did Dorothy discover Finster's plagiarism secret? Perhaps. But other suspects proliferate: shady magazine dealer Barry Evans; sadistic porno-filmmaker Charles Houseman (the murderer's accomplice falls fatally from his hotel room window); evasive librarian Perry Morgan. And Athena finally brings the killer to bay in the San Diego zoo. Pleasant, undemanding, of greatest appeal to sf-convention-goers.