A hapless Census Bureau employee rescues his high-powered girlfriend from kidnappers in Beirut--in this frothy, amusing, but rather unambitious debut by a journalist and former writing teacher at Brown. Ex-football-player Ron Stutzer's job as Assistant Chief in the Housing Characteristics Division of the Bureau of the Census may not strike most people as a thrill a minute, but it's a far cry from his alcoholic father's dead-end factory existence, and Ron manages to amuse himself with outside interests. These include beekeeping on the farm property of a friend and former pro ballplayer, and taking care of Elizabeth--the extremely wealthy, work-obsessed Defense Department employee with whom he lives. When Elizabeth is sent on a special mission to Beirut and is taken hostage on the drive into town from the airport, Ron is jolted from his usual beekeeping tranquility and forced to play the role of valiant savior. Bankrolled by Elizabeth's father, a New York multimillionaire with business interests in the Middle East, Ron ventures into enemy territory to rescue his beloved. Encounters with gun-waving Lebanese children, paranoid American military officers, and bored upper-crust hashish dealers follow as Ron uses his knowledge of bee behavior to make his recovery. But though his brave and successful rescue attempt elicits the excited admiration of press and public back home, it also prompts a cool abandonment by both Elizabeth and her father. Well, you live and learn--philosophical Ron seems likely to profit from the experience in future colorful installments.