Veteran Hill's spanking new (though already shop-soiled) hero, balding black PI Joe Sixsmith, has a meddlesome aunt; an imperious (and kidnap-prone) cat; a neighborhood (Luton, Bedfordshire) full of layabouts, petty crooks, and vigilantes; and the wildest client list this side of Jupiter. Stephen Andover consults Joe about a repeated dream of his family's death; though the exasperated police find the family alive and well, they've been murdered by the time of Joe's follow-up call. Voodoo maven Gwen Baker wants Joe to steal the locket her husband, Gerald Collister-Cook, gave her so she can release him from the clutches of Meg Merchison, the rival she insists is trying to kill her. Soumitra Bannerjee is in prison after being refused reentry to England on suspicion of carrying two kilos of heroin that a pair of hoodlums are intent on salvaging. And Joe's neighbor, a putupon Pakistani shopkeeper, refuses to report a pair of shoplifters to the police until they return to burn down his store. Joe, whose methods are as unorthodox as his clients, deals with these problems by uncovering an adulterous affair between Andover and his secretary, going to bed with La Merchison, trying his own spot of voodoo on the hoodlums, and giving the shoplifters an alibi for the night of the fire. As sumptuously plotted as Hill's latest Dalziel and Pascoe adventure (Pictures of Perfection, p. 1026, etc.), but in a vein of unadulterated downscale farce, with the most enterprising new hero since Super Marlo Brothers.