The third book about Fell finds him in a funk as he tries to deal with the auto-accident death of best friend Dib. Platonically reunited with old flame Keats, Fell returns to Gardner School to pick up his belongings, as well as contemplate his future, when he's plunged into a byzantine mystery involving the other driver in the crash, has-been ventriloquist Lenny Last. It emerges that Lenny was once a member of the Sevens, the exclusive club of which Fell is an ambivalent part, as was Lenny's roommate Nelson Plummer--whose strange disappearance is as legendary as Judge Crater's. As Fell begins to unravel the dark solution to the 20-year-old riddle, he also starts to come to terms with his own life--only to be dealt another knockout blow in the last chapter. Fell's story is told alternately by Fell and by ""The Mouth,"" entries from a journal that may have been written by a character's alter ego. Both voices are pithy and as rhythmically involving as the sharply witty shadow dance that constitutes the plot. Another entry in this clever, original series seems promised; it will be welcome.