The author, prolific and uneven (The Tenth Interview, 1986; etc.), here attempts a dual story that gets away from him. Police investigation into the death of Anthea Cossiter, whose body is discovered on Constable Parker's lonely country beat, is stalled when a helicopter explodes over the center of nearby Lessford town, with a heavy death toll. We meet (again) Chief Inspector David Hoyle and Superintendent Ralph Flensing, along with a surfeit of minor and major officials from lowly beat men to some VIP's from London's Secret Service. Seems that that explosion was no act of God but a bungled mission from inner spydom. Eventually Anthea's crippled, ex-car-racer dad is persuaded to tell his story; Flensing's beloved invalid wife Helen dies; and we learn more than we care to know about the thoughts and lives of assorted policemen. Burdened with near-incoherent plotting, strewn with philosophical bits and pieces, mawkish prose and florid embroidery, this is not one of Wainwright's finer moments.