Against all reason, Priscilla DeAngelo is convinced there's a conspiracy to keep her six-year-old son away from her. Certainly her well-connected ex, Robert Sullivan, Jr., is just as determined to prevail in a custody battle over Bob III as Priscilla is--and he's a lot less flaky; but a conspiracy between the Sullivan family and Alaska State Senator Wilfred Taylor? Get real. Cecil Younger, the depressive-go-lucky investigator who describes himself as ""not much good at putting clues together,"" probably wouldn't have anything to do with Priscilla if she weren't the sister of his long-lost love Jane Marie DeAngelo. And after his informal first meeting with Robert and Bob leaves him empty-handed, with a wicked concussion, Priscilla doesn't want anything to do with him either. But when her own attempts at diplomacy fail even more spectacularly--her encounter with Taylor in an office stairwell leaves him dead and her under arrest--Cecil steps back into the game. Be warned: From here on in, the action (multiple shaggy kidnappings, leaky dynamite, a reunion with Jane Marie) gets wild and woolly, with no time for a proper lunch, let alone model sleuthing. Notable, like Cecil's first two outings (The Curious Eat Themselves, 1993, etc.), for some charmingly loopy storytelling and some magical Alaskan scenery--though the magic may be due in part to the Xanax that Cecil's been popping since that concussion.