Offbeat isn't the word for this new adventure of Cardiff math professor John Dobie (The Catalyst, 1991), exiled to Cyprus to take the place of his former student Derya TÅner. Bed-hopping Derya, Dobie is told shortly after his arrival, has been smothered by her husband, Nobelist Adrian Seymour, whose loony, rambling confession periodically breaks into the archly witty narrative. But why does Seymour keep harping on the mythical tale of Amphitryon, whose wife, Hercules' mother, was seduced by Zeus in her husband's form? And what does the murder have to do with the disappearance, during a Greek raid 20 years ago, of the entire population of a nearby village and the murder of Uktu Arkin, brother of the present Minister of Education and aspiring President of Cyprus? Beneath Dobie's appealing indifference to everything outside his field (there's a great conversation about Shakespeare's ``Lady Macdougal'') lies an originality that goes deeper than the surface details of this elegantly loopy tale.