If old-timer Cunningham (Sally, Margie, Helen, etc.) really intends this neat little item to he the first in a series about Sgt. Masao Masuto Of the Beverly Hills Police, he'd be advised to drop the ""inscrutable"" and ""Ah so"" stuff--even as a put-on, it's indescribably tired. Otherwise, Masao is fine, if somewhat bland, with his Zen-Buddhist principles, his (for the moment) unliberated wife/slave, and his intuitive detection: here he deftly links up a house break-in with two murders, all three crimes involving the most valuable stamp in the world--the 1847 Mauritius One-Penny Orange. The chain of events may hang on an excess of coincidence--there's also a Buchenwald revenge killing--but Cunningham moves so quickly and un-fussily along that even an out-of-nowhere romantic finale (Masao and the sympathetic murderess) slips in with finesse. A likable--and highly scrutable--kickoff.