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More corruption and murder in Washington, D.C.--sleuthed out by Dominic's stalwart, rather dullish Congressman Ben Safford (D-Ohio). Capt. Neil Conroy, a test-pilot and one of Ben's constituents, has been blamed--unfairly, it seems--for a recent test crash involving the new VX-92. So, urged on by Neil's pushy mother, Ben starts interviewing the officers on the Air Force inquiry board; and one of them promptly commits apparent suicide, with evidence pointing to a bribe by Saudi Arabia. (Conroy's co-pilot, killed in the crash, was a Saudi!) Case closed? Hardly. Because questions start arising about the design of the VX-92 itself--especially after a disaster at the Paris Air Show (with Ben in horrified attendance). Did the Saudis arrange for that board-of-inquiry coverup? Or was it the aerospace company behind the VX-927 (The ex-president is now ambassador to France.) Or perhaps a congressman who was in the company's pocket? And was that Air Force officer's death really suicide? More murder follows, of course: the congressman, a top suspect who Knows Too Much, gets blown up handily. But eventually Ben and his allies close in on the super-corrupt villain--in a reasonable if unsurprising windup. As always, Dominic (a.k.a. Emma Lathen) offers mildly amusing character touches, rather too much dialogue, and solid details on the way Washington business really gets done: pleasant, competent mystery/suspense, cheerily narrated even when dealing with bribes, crashes, murders, and corruption.

Pub Date: Jan. 30th, 1983
Publisher: St. Martin's