On his birthday, juvenile author (both meanings apply) Lyon Wentworth goes for a balloon ride over Long Island Sound and thinks he sees the plane belonging to his friend Tom Giles crash into the drink. The body and wreckage don't turn up till a day later, however, after Lyon has meanwhile had a phone call from a living Tom. That paradox is the only intriguing item in this third case for Lyon and wife Bea (Connecticut's Secretary of State), who've gone downhill since their Edgar-winning debut. The motive turns tediously on a real estate deal involving a Hari-Krishna-ish leader and a toy manufacturer. And worst of all is the semi-humorous background: racial jokes from Bea's black assistant and thunderingly puerile gags about Bea's jealousy over Lyon's attraction to a bikinied teeny-bopper who's infatuated with him. Juvenilitis in detective-land.