A rough-tough South African adventure turns into a Euro-spy thriller, pausing for rest, recuperation, and heavy breathing in rural Oxfordshire; by the author of Scream at the Sea and The Jericho Rumble. Stuart Kody, blissfully married to a Russian-born ex-gymnast, has foolishly and unquestioningly loaned all his liquid assets to his old war-buddy Rollo Runyon. Rollo has used the funds to rustle up a fortune in smuggled diamonds, but he's gotten himself shot up in the process, and it's up to Stuart to rescue Rollo and the diamonds. On his way to South Africa, Rollo runs into the bloodiest Boer, one Kobus de Hock, South African State Security, and makes an enemy for life. De Hoek sets his hounds on Kody, just on general principles, but Kody slips away, hooks up with Rollo, and heads for the border with the diamonds. He's almost into Swaziland and safety when he's caught in de Hoek's net. The diamonds buy his freedom for about 30 seconds and then disappear. When Kody talks his way out of de Hoek's clutches, the diamonds reappear, only to be snatched from an Antwerp taxi. Who should be in Belgium and ready to help but the father-in-law Kody never knew, an apparent spy of endless charm and duplicity. This really ought not to work. The plot is all over the place, good characters disappear too soon, and Kody is almost as perfect as Spenser, but the action hums, Mrs. Kody is a cutie, and there's a terrific jet-speed climax.