Mann's triumphant reappearance in America--1982's Funeral Sites--was followed up, somewhat disappointingly, by the first US printing of a 1978 mystery, The Sting of Death (p. 408). But now she's back with a genuinely new book, a quasi-sequel starring Tamara Hoyland--the archaeologist of Funeral Sites. . . who has now become a British undercover-agent in the wake of her lover Ian Barnes' death by terrorists and betrayal. Sent to Ian's home on Forway Island, a desolate rock off Cornwall where his widowed mother still lives, Tamara's mission is to investigate a rumor that the islanders intend to declare their independence. And soon it seems that local power-broker Freya Barnes is indeed planning to use her large fortune to that end. But there are other forces at work, too--an imminent royal visit, discovery of oil in nearby waters--plus the doings of a few prize eccentrics: Nonie Anholt, a once-fashionable matron now revelling in filth, with a resident Irish lover, at Trinder's Castle; Freya's citified cousin Lena Gerson, an unlikely candidate (with husband Rik) for back-to-nature life on bleak Forway; and Island-born writer/lecturer Magnus Paull (the sometime narrator), who's visiting his nobleman-father. . . and falling for Tamara. Some violence ensues, of course--starting with the ""accidental"" death of Freya's husband Pedro, followed by a similar fate for Freya herself. So Tamara must use her sizable deductive talents--and her newly-learned physical skills as well--before wrapping things up in neat, satisfying fashion. Richly plotted, grandly peopled, and amusingly vivid in the portrait of an epically unlovely island: a delightful Tamara Hoyland comeback, from one of Britain's best talents in the light, ironic, adventurous vein.