Somebody's threatening to kill him, exotic dancer Jay Paloma tells Inspector Bill Slider (Blood Lines, 1996, etc.); somebody's been phoning him and hanging up, and, besides that, writing him blustering letters. Then, the day after Slider's sent Paloma on his way with an admonition to save the next nasty letter that comes in, somebody beats him to death in the White City Estate flat he shares with stripper-turned-barmaid Valerie (Busty) Parnell. It would be a perfectly ordinary murder--except that White City Estate's already in the middle of a violent crime wave (community patrol copper Andy Cosgrove is lying in a coma after his own beating), and neither Paloma's professional associates at the Pomona Club nor his secretive lover looks to be up to any good. What are the connections among between Paloma's murder, the attack on Cosgrove, and the flow of drugs through the Pomona Club? And how can Slider and his men at Shepherd's Bush--this time including sexy, outspoken Tony Hart (whose status as a black female constable makes her ``the PC DC'')--ever tie the loose ends together when Slider's getting nothing but frowns from his mate, Inspector Ron Carver, and nothing but soporific smiles from his boss, temporary Superintendent Eric Honeyman, who can't retire fast enough to suit Slider? A neatly solved puzzle, the latest installment in the saga of Slider's domestic woes, and some of the best cop talk on either side of the Atlantic.