The chatty old lion of San Francisco (Bohemia: Where Art, Angst, Love, and Strong Coffee Meet, 1993; A Girl of Forty, 1986, etc.) holds forth in splendid form. Middle-aged private eye Kasdan, a lapsed philosophy instructor, left teaching when he discovered that he liked ``collecting money for people who were owed it. I liked the edge of improvisation and even the bit of risk when a reluctant debtor or adolescent speed freak got pissed off. I enjoyed runaways, credit violators, and deadbeat fathers.'' In the 1960s, he had met and married the much younger Priscilla: ``She took my arm as if she loved me. This is the most beautiful sentence of my life.'' But after eight years and one son, Priscilla tires of Dan's futurelessness and divorces him. Dan, dazed with loss, attempts to puzzle out how this has happened. As he looks back, it becomes clear that it began when Priscilla, exerting wifely power, suggested that Dan go for ``the big score'' with drug-dealing porn theater operator Karim Abdullah, who liked Dan. He recollects how Priscilla allowed her lover, young, white-haired Xavier with his perfecto clothes, to take Dan's place, in part to torment Dan, in part to manipulate him into working with Karim. Dan's agonies finally drive him to do that--and the job turns out to be collecting money owed to Karim by a madam. A second assignment calls for him to pick up a box for Karim and take it to a bus station locker. Dan, torn between his hapless love for Priscilla and his suspicions of Karim, is faced with an impossible decision. The fading of the Age of Aquarius (and of love) is rendered brilliantly here. This is Gold's Tempest, a go-for-broke autumnal story told with great vigor and featuring, in Priscilla, one of the most vividly passive-aggressive villains ever put on paper.