Bannister's gutsy heroine is non-practicing Dr. Clio Reese, a British detective-story writer who turns sleuth herself--when her longtime, beloved pal Luke Shaw, a homosexual electronics wizard, is found dead, wrists slashed, in the company of a dead teenage addict. Chief Inspector Marsh labels Luke's death a suicide, of course. But Clio insists on a post-mortem--which proves it was murder. Then a textbook on kidney disease in Luke's flat leads her to Dr. Julian Barnes--an old acquaintance involved in god-like medical research (artificial implantable kidneys). And, now convinced that the great Dr. Barnes is involved in Luke's demise, Clio goes on to avenge the murder--and find, perhaps, romance. . . after several hair's-breadth escapes from death. A bizarre plot--but Bannister, with a literately witty style and a likable/dazzling Clio, makes it surprisingly convincing: a diverting US debut.