Another elegant entertainment from Thomas (Hanover Place, 1990, etc.), a former Lehman Brothers partner with a firm grasp of high finance and the low cunning that frequently informs it. Lee Boynton is a brainy, zaftig, 30ish heiress, copublisher and sole angel of Washington-based Capitol Steps, a muckraking review with a small but influential readership. When she gets a tip on some odd megabuck cash flows through a troubled bank in Northern California, she recruits Thurlow Coole, an austere Bostonian with a Wall Street background, to help her pursue the story. The unlikely pair quickly realize they're on the twisty trail of a criminal enterprise established mainly to legitimize Colombian drug lords' money, flight capital from underdeveloped countries, terrorists' slush funds, and the illicit profits of putatively respectable corporations. At the heart of the vast conspiracy is Credit Provencal, a BCCI-like institution effectively controlled by Mona Kurchinsky, a whip-smart operator who was a valued protÇgÇe of Lee's legendary uncle in the CIA. Mona's minions include a White House insider and a murderous Korean-American who has tapped into JEDI (Joint Expedited Date Interface), the US government's ultrasecure clearinghouse system for its law-enforcement agencies. As the transnational laundry's dirty linen comes spilling out in the wash of Lee's globe-trotting inquiries and Coole's shrewd analyses of what's been going down in the presumptive privacy of computer networks, the villains of the piece begin covering their tracks the old-fashioned way--by killing off those who know too much. At the close, Lee has written a bestseller about how CP was brought to book and looks forward to deepening her lusty relationship with an unexpectedly studly Coole. Good nasty fun in the form of a plausible (if not altogether credible) plot offering object lessons on the wages of sin, laced with liberal measures of the author's trademark commentary on tempora et mores.