In the seven years since Hard Rain (1987), Amsterdam cops Henk Grijpstra and Rinus de Gier have both left the force, Grijpstra to become a private eye, de Gier to lord it in splendid isolation over a rented island off the coast of Maine. But their retirement is ended by a late-night phone call from de Gier, who's afraid he's killed his girlfriend Lorraine by kicking her down a cliff while he was too drunk and stoned to pay closer attention to what he was doing. Now he wants Grijpstra's hands-on assistance in dealing with Flash Farnsworth and Bad George, the obliging buddies who took her body away in their boat and are now politely demanding blackmail. Grumbling at top volume, Grijpstra flies to the US, making the last leg of the trip in a rickety prop plane whose pilot, a suspiciously well-connected local named Ishmael, has a storied history of crash-and-burns. Once installed on Squid Island, he struggles to keep from running afoul of the tyrannical sheriff while digging up evidence that Lorraine's not really dead, a ploy that seems to backfire when he finds Lorraine's corpse thrust into a shallow grave. Or is it really Lorraine's corpse after all? And if it isn't, what's become of her, and who is the woman in her grave? More important, how is Grijpstra and de Gier's foxy old boss -- who, like Achilles racing the tortoise, is getting closer and closer to Squid Island without ever arriving -- going to fix the mess if he ever does arrive? Less a mystery novel than a novel about mystery -- as usual in this piquant, much-loved series.