Another reprimand, another transfer, finds Lille police Commissaire Henri Castang (Those in Peril, etc.) reassigned to Brussels, where he will push paper clips around as a minor functionary under Harold Claverhouse, head of Juridical Services. Meanwhile, Vera, Henri's Czech wife, and Harold's chic but difficult Anglo-Irish wife, Iris, become friends--and, later, it is to Henri and Vera that Harold appears, in shock, and announces the strangulation of his wife. What happened? Henri and Vera alternate in relating a saga that may have less to do with personal idiosyncracies than with the character of a country--here, the juxtaposition of England, Ireland, Belgium, France, all on a collision course with Flanders's innocence and East Germany's prying. Also converging: another murder, which comes to light during Henri and Vera's social work at Accäs house, and which concerns two young runaways, whose incestuous papa was employed by the father of 19-year-old Marie, who was in love with Claverhouse. A lengthy trial sequence offers, if not quite justice, an explanation for both Claverhouse and the young runaways' motives. One of the better Castang tales, journeying into the maze of European politics, national characteristics, and combustible emotion. Thought-provoking and well told.