Politics, again, are more important than detection in this new outing for Commissioner Jan Argand of Brabt--capital city in a Benelux-ish duchy with an active right-wing, leftwing, and partly socialist center. Now appointed to head the Bureau of Advice and Investigation, Argand must deal with complaints (from leftists, homosexuals, Jews) of police brutality. Are these complaints justified? Perhaps: there seems to be a fascistic strain among Brabt's security forces; furthermore, someone seems to be retaliating against anyone who makes such a complaint. Then, on the day of a big anti-nuke rally, Argand's quandaries escalate: there's some radical violence, a plainclothes policeman is stabbed to death, the cops get rough with the crowd. And then Argand himself seems to become the target of leftwing terrorists. But is that what's really going on? All too predictably, of course not: the real villains will be revealed to be fascistic, Moral Majority, anti-Semitic types, some of them police officials--determined to make the Left look bad, especially now that the socialists are taking over the center. Rathbone writes elegantly, with character-nuances and an effectively moody tone. Unfortunately, he keeps writing this same plot over and over again, ever more didactically (there's a long lecture on fascism here)--and only readers who share his particular political fervor will stay tuned during this fitfully absorbing, talky, unevenly paced mystery-cum-lesson.