Ex-Scotland Yard Detective-Inspector John Raven and his photographer wife Kirstie (Raven's Shadow, etc., etc.) are in Paris when Kirstie spies Canadian painter Kirk Cameron, a fondly remembered school friend now down on his luck. Kirk has just accepted a short-term job with Henry Hobart, a con man working in turn for adventurer Roland van Hall. Kirk's job with Hobart is in London, and Kirstie asks him to stay aboard their houseboat Albatross--an invitation that inspires no enthusiasm in Raven, whose foreboding of trouble ahead is soon realized. Kirk is in over his head, wanting to believe Hobart's tale of a client having divorce trouble--but what's really involved is breaking into a vault and removing documents from a box rented by Paul Sheffield. Sheffield owns Cyclops Security, an agency for mercenaries, among other things. He employs only members of his old army regiment, and four of them have recently been killed in a failed assassination attempt on Chile's President Pinochet. At the close, Hobart's tidily planned raid on the vault goes wildly astray--and Raven must rescue Kirk from the mess to keep Kirstie happy. A raft of electronic spying devices, endless comings and goings, and cat-and-mouse games ad infinitum--all add up to a busy, cluttered jumble in which a once-commanding Raven seems well on his way to cranky middle age. No winner for MacKenzie this time out.