Engrossing story of a modern detective, the private eye considered best in the business by his peers. Hal Lipset, who opened his office shortly after WW II, is not only an investigator, but an an eavesdropper nonpareil: The bug in the martini olive was a tiny wireless transmitter (with a toothpick as its antenna) that Lipset displayed before a 1965 Senate subcommittee on eavesdropping. Holt (book editor of the San Francisco Chronicle) is uniquely qualified to tell Lipset's story: In the mid-70's, she worked as an investigator for Lipset, and so he now has opened his case files, meticulously kept for 30 years, to her. Lipset, she tells us, has worked as an investigator for Angela Davis, Huey Newton, the San Quentin Six, and the Soledad Brothers, and was security advisor to the Black Panthers, the United Farm Workers, and the American Indian Movement. Lest he be accused of idealism, other clients included Jim Jones of the People's Temple, Chuck Dederich of Synanon, Werner Erhard of est, the Hare Krishna Society, and the Reverend Moon's Unification Church. Unlike many fictional detectives, Lipset does not care whether the people hiring him are right or wrong, guilty or innocent. ``Judgments belong in a court of law,'' he says. ``Our job is to earn the fee.'' Holt's adroitly written narrative follows a number of cases in detail, and she gives Lipset center stage to explain his private systems for putting together pieces of the lying client jigsaw puzzle, and to detail chases of jewel thieves across Europe, murder investigations, and an expert analysis of the Nixon-altered Watergate tapes. The real deal on private detectives, expertly told. A must- have for true crime fans and other students of human nature.