William Warner, urbane wine-seller/sleuth (Rough Red, etc.), is encouraged by his wife to help out his former mistress, Maud, whose companion Nick has disappeared from their rustic quarters on Crete, thereby setting in motion some of the most insightful, beguiling travel writing this side of Jan Morris. While William scampers about the mountain crags and caverns in search of the enigmatic Nick, who, he suspects, is either dealing drugs, spying on a NATO Missile Firing Installation, stealing early Minoan antiquities, or trying to escape the Gyparis brothers--bent on murdering him because he has dishonored their sister--is followed by a slew of interested parties, including wealthy art-collector Starvos; beautiful Eleni, who says she's his niece; several extremely fit German youths; a lurker in a leather jacket, and, of course, the CIA. Meanwhile, Maud paints, and the island sizzles in summer heat. When William and Nick finally catch up, William is once again set off on a wild-goose chase--and a final explosion may actually mean nothing at all. William, a little adrift without a woman at hand to interest him, is still excellent company as he dissects Mediterranean machismo.