A second outing, almost as engaging as his debut (Trouble Making Toys), for Cincinnati police detective Cesar Franck. Chips Reber, a mover and shaker in the gentrification of mostly black Dutchtown, has been murdered in the backyard of his own restored, Jacuzzied house. Small-time drug dealer, slumlord, sometime blackmailer, Chips is missed by no one but girlfriend Sandy Schott and Outreach center computer whiz-kid Stephen Rankin. And there are certainly no tears from ex-wife Greta, who lives down the block with son H.P. and new husband Nick. Cesar finds lots of oddball characters as he gently interviews the locals, from majestic Elizabeth Sackville (of the perservationist Victorian Center) to touchy, white, Afro-haired Outreach leader Sonny Werk, religous nut Dick Speers and pretty clothes-designer Stella Hineman. Finally, it'll be young Rankin's computer work that will pinpoint motive and murderer. All in all, Cesar is likable, but the gritty, sardonic edge provided by black partner Henry in the author's first novel is only peripheral here--and sorely missed. Cesar, solo, tends to flap and waffle. Bring back Henry, Mr. Pyle!