An introduction to New Orleans p.i. Micah Dunn, a one-armed Vietnam vet who's been hired by archaeologist Dr. Gregory Thorpe to solve a problem with an exhibit of Yucatan artifacts found at Ek Balam, Thorpe's latest dig. Someone has been adding objects to the groups on display--objects that fit right in--but why and how? Members of the expedition are prime suspects--Thorpe's chief assistant Gordon Leeds; timid ceramicist Astrid Bancroft, who has a devoted boyfriend; superefficient secretary Katherine Degas; and discontented Mayan native Artemio, brought to the US by Thorpe. But Dunn has barely started his investigation when Leeds, on his way to see him, is run down by a car and gives Dunn a heavily incised piece of black jade before he dies. Thorpe's car is identified by the police as the murder vehicle, and Thorpe is jailed, his much younger wife Cora seemingly unruffled while adoring secretary Katherine suffers. From here on it's bad news for Dunn--as sleazy lawyer-dealer Ordaz sends goons to get the jade; Leeds' homosexual partner goes to pieces; and our hero, tracking Cora to a rendezvous, gets arrested for killing her lover, Claude St. Romaine. Dunn is ambushed, beaten up, and suffers recurring violent memories of Vietnam in the bargain. But all this pales after his escape from prison--and after an almost final showdown that leaves behind five corpses and a bullet-seared Dunn. Overlong but well written, mildly intriguing adventure-mystery with an agreeably low-keyed sleuth. And a plus for archaeology buffs.