Another enjoyably complicated, modestly engaging spy-arama for British agent Herbie Kruger (The Nostradamus Traitor, 1979), that Mahler-loving, hard-drinking, Nazi-bred teddy bear of a spy. The labyrinth begins when Herbie is alerted that KGB spymaster Jacob Vascovsky has killed himself and that his aide-de-camp Capt. Pavel Mistochenkov has defected to Berlin and will speak only to Big Herbie. So Herbie conducts a long interrogation of Mistochenkov--which sometimes verges on ale Carre parody--and learns with horror that back in the 1960s his six-man spy team, the Schnitzer Group, was no secret to the Russians, was feeding back Russian disinformation, and included two double-agents! Furthermore, Herbie learns that his current top spy system includes a traitor and source of fake information: his own former mistress, Luzia Gabell, is a double agent (and was the late KGB spymaster's mistress!) So Herbie now leaves for Berlin, to save what's left of his team from the Gabell woman. And the search for answers leads to triple-crosses, to East Berlin, to another ex-mistress, and to suspicions that the whole shebang (from the KGB spymaster's suicide on) may have been a fantastical set-up. Le Carre fans may not take too well to Gardner's tongue-in-cheeky touches; and straight-suspense addicts will find the convolutions here beyond the pale. But Herbie brings out the best in Gardner--and those with a taste for spy-mazes, erudite cartooning, and/or Mahler (Herbie's addiction) will find this a special sort of espionage treat.