First published in the UK as The Mason Codex (1988), this neat suspenser tells the story of Annie Meredith, a proper Welsh schoolmistress of a certain age, and the Mexican half-brother whose existence she never learns of till after he’s dead in a crowded truck ferrying illegal immigrants across the border to Texas. A whim brings Annie to the US for whatever funeral arrangements she can make herself, and to Joshua Cade, the border patrolman who seems to know more about Crist¢bal Baez than he’s admitting. And when she finds out that her half-brother was not exactly what he seemed, a second, angrier whim makes her determined to identify and punish the people responsible for Crist¢bal’s death. Was he traveling with a group of illegals being smuggled by lordly American collector Raoul Mason? Then Annie, partnered by Crist¢bal’s friend Chico Col¢n, will book passage on the same run, carrying a priceless Mixtec codex to persuade Mason that their journey will have to be as stealthy as Crist¢bal’s. Squeezed together with the desperate human cargo into a dark, airless compartment of a truck whose driver they can’t communicate with, Annie and Chico know that any number of things could go wrong, and Bannister (The Primrose Convention, p. 226, etc.) makes sure that every single one of them does. Taut, accomplished lesser work from one of the field’s most underrated practitioners.