Disarmingly, Innes begins this new Sir John Appleby caper by revealing almost the entire mystery that Sir John will soon tackle. The novel's first half wryly describes how secretly bankrupt tycoon Carl Carson, Sir John's country neighbor, uses his wife's madness (she believes, deludedly, that they have a grownup son in America) to plot his embezzlement-escape from England: he'll fake the kidnap of this imaginary son, with help from a henchman; he'll liquidate all his holdings to raise a ransom; and then, after faking the murder-disappearances of both the son and himself, he'll flee to Brazil. Will Sir John fall for this scare? That's the primary suspense here. And, in the second half, we watch the scheme unfold before Sir John's puzzled eyes--until he at last sees through the fakery. . . and reveals a couple of non-Carson twists (one predictable, one implausible) as well. Leisurely, elegant Innes fare: very mild, very dry, very English--with humorous touches that verge on the Wodehousian.