Acting on a tip that a billionaire's house on Long Island is empty, John Dortmunder and a professional colleague pay it a nocturnal call. But the billionaire, slick Max Fairbanks, is entertaining a Playboy centerfold in the basement, and he not only calls the police on Dortmunder, but, adding insult to injury, steals a trumpery ring from his handcuffed guest's finger. Furious at this flagrant injustice (as what self- respecting thief wouldn't be?), Dortmunder (Don't Ask, 1993, etc.) escapes from custody vowing revenge and makes it his business to track down Fairbanks and reclaim his property. Tracking his well-insulated quarry to the midtown Manhattan hotel he owns, and then to Washington's famed Watergate complex, Dortmunder, with an increasingly elaborate entourage in tow, succeeds in taking Fairbanks for bigger and bigger scores, arousing Fairbanks's growing suspicions, but always--in Westlake's characteristically droll conceit--just missing that worthless ring Fairbanks keeps on his own worthless finger. It's not till Fairbanks's junket takes him to his Las Vegas casino that he makes his stand against his obsessive pursuer, baiting a trap for his nemesis just as Dortmunder's arriving at McCarran Airport with a crack team of 20. ``You always come up with the funny ones, Dortmunder,'' says one of his accomplices. ``It's amusing to be around you.'' This lovely new Mission: Improbable from the galaxy's king of the comic crime caper will have you shouting a resounding Amen.