Britisher John Rowan Wilson writes novels smoothly comparable to American Mitchell Wilson (Live With Lightning, etc.) in which scientific-humanistic issues stiffen the story line. This time it's whether the pure research man of conscience is any better off in the organizational-industrial vise of the U.S.A. after leaving the political straitjacket of the U.S.S.R. The Soviet's Peter Karas, another Sherlock-Watson working in molecular genetics, is bequeathed by his colleague Max, who commits suicide, notes which may decode the secret of life, as well as an opportunity-option to escape Russia after a conference in Geneva. Karas is quickly bought up by American ISIS for the price of a passport, but finds that he has exchanged one sort of confinement for another. He also leaves Sophia, his dead friend's wife, behind (to be picked up on an espionage charge), to become involved with Sarah, the ISIS magnate's niece. Ultimately his old Soviet inquisitor will catch up with him but the ""secret of life"" has vanished from his consciousness. . . . In vivo situations, with a steady narrative interest; characters you may have met before but can hardly be expected to remember; an easily written script; in other words, emulsified entertainment.