Anthony's spy-chief heroine, Davina Graham, is--to put it mildly--no George Smiley. And though some of Davina's previous espionage tangles (e.g., The Defector) have been strong and crisp, this latest installment is both farfetched and droopy. The rightwing US Secretary of State is killed (a gondola bomb) in Venice. Soon thereafter France's leftwing Minister of Justice is shot to death (with her family) in Blois. Whodunit? Davina is sure that her old nemesis, KGB chief Borisov, must be the mastermind at work--but then a Soviet biggie is assassinated in Poland, followed by the murder of a leading British priest-pacifist. Furthermore, chapters featuring Borisov in Moscow (he's scheming to take over after the demise of the ailing USSR leader) make it clear that he too is mystified by the international assassinations. So eventually Davina must call on her old, bitter love, super-agent Colin Lomax, to sleuth into the matter--as their passion rekindles: Davina's recent beloved, Jewish/Polish tycoon Tony Walden, has turned out to be a shyster, even a would-be traitor. And Colin eventually figures out that Someone is brainwashing assorted young Europeans into becoming ""human bomb"" assassins--one of whom nearly strangles Davina to death during an interrogation. The master-plan behind the killings? A muddled stew of quasi-religious fanaticism, Soviet power-ploys, and Christie's ABC Murders. Still, Davina fans will probably find this a fast and painless diversion--with lots of loose ends (the feud with nasty sister Charlie, office-politics at British Intelligence) carried over from previous episodes.