Absent over here since 1976, Chief Inspector Gently is mightily welcome--especially in such snappy, suspenseful form as this. The case: terrorists have kidnapped elderly French industrialist Hugo Barentin and are holed up somewhere in Scotland. So Gently's services are requested--by the French government and by his old flame Gabrielle Orbec, who owes a debt to Barentin (and whose ex-husband is one of the terrorists!). And the stakes rise when Gabrielle herself also becomes a hostage. But Gently's real nemesis here isn't the terrorist band; it's hateful Special Branch agent Emptom, who wants the terrorists dead and couldn't care less about the hostages. Strong deduction, fast pace, the happiest of endings--and a special treat for lovers of Scottish highways and byways.