Could cantankerous archaeologist Sir Toby Glendower have sinned just a little 30 or so years ago, and could the product be gorgeous Russian ballerina Sonya, now ensconced in a Brighton police lockup as the number-one suspect in the murder of the troupe's traveling KGB man Litvok? Yes, indeed, and with the prodding of old chum Dr. Penny Spring and her son Dr. Alex (instantly in love with the intriguing Sonya), Toby sets about to prove her innocent. But Sonya does keep asking him for money, and disappearing at odd moments, and clearly she has a few secrets. Meanwhile, two troupe members defect to Brazil; the prima ballerina is strangled with a long scarf: the British liaison to the dance company seems to be part of a blackmail scheme: and Herbert Spence of the Foreign Office has his valuable Russian icon collection stolen. With hints dropped by Vadik, the spy-villain of past books, Toby and Penny sort through KGB and CIA shenanigans to pinpoint the real troublemaker. Like its seven predecessors: stiff and mostly charmless.