A genial tribute to New Zealand that makes the whole country seem as cozy as a village where all the neighbors share a party line. Peter Ferguson has been sent to New Zealand to locate ""The Bishop""--a reclusive major shareholder in California's Swartmore and Stone, which will lose a takeover bid by Pricane unless Bishop will vote with them. Also desperately seeking Bishop: Pricane's Ted Kincaid. Before the three men meet up, however, Peter is declared the only heir to a vast 40,000-acre station (his mom was a transplanted Kiwi); Edward Riley, a contract killer, arrives in the country and stirs things up; the Japanese are negotiating for property; and constables are being shot at left and right. Eager to help the police in what may become his adopted country, Peter agrees to tour New Zealand and alert them to any environmental or more nefarious skulduggery he sees. He is accompanied by undercover police woman Jenny O'Malley, falls a bit in love, and--in a not very compelling or believable fashion--helps the constabulary piece together who's responsible for the officer murders. Weaker plotting than one expects from police-procedural expert Ball (In The Heat Of The Night, etc.), with minimal suspense and action. Clearly in love with the gentle New Zealand pace and atmosphere, Ball has written, if not a mystery, certainly a rather charming love letter.