Again, as in Head of the Force (p. 79), Barnett begins with Scotland Yard's Owen Smith investigating a murder but soon plunges into farfetched conspiracy doings. Flight Lieutenant Alison Cumberley has been killed--apparently raped and strangled--at an RAF station in Suffolk. And while Smith sleuths along the expected lines, Barnett shows us the real killer: mad, needy, rightwing Flight Lieut. Marie, who spotted a Russian plane's clandestine Morse Code signal announcing the intended defection of a Soviet general (Alison saw it too--thus the murder) and is trying to sell Russia his aid in shooting down the would-be defector. Plus, to add to the tangle (and Smith's bewilderment), the British government is secretly prepared to help the Soviets prevent this defection. Feverish politics, aviation action, some rough talk--a lively enough little hybrid, but hardly for mystery fans; and one gets the distinct feeling that Barnett would be better off dumping his Scotland Yard format entirely and writing straight espionage.