Who killed London's slick New Right guru Paul Silverlight, found murdered in the wake of an exchange of nuclear bomb attacks between Iran and Iraq? That exchange may have been triggered by a US policy leak concerning first-strike possibilities--and sharp, shabby reporter Andrew Taggart is certain that Silverlight was the leak. Special Branch's introspective Detective Brain King is halfheartedly assigned the case, even as his superior indicates that the Establishment would be happy to see the killing pinned on Jenny Dawes, daughter of slight, leftish Cambridge Professor John Dawes. Her descent into drugs and apathy date from Silverlight's rejection after a short-lived affair. Meanwhile, Taggart and King pay separate, unproductive overseas visits to Silverlight's rumored homosexual partner, Arthur Brownson, who works in Princeton's Defense Reseach program. Later, Brownson's very sudden heart-attack death increases Taggart's fears of his own safety, especially after he gets a strong lead to the killer. There are other intriguing aspects, political and personal, to the story, but suspense and climax are diffused in speculation, ending in an inconclusive whimper. This is, nevertheless, a sophisticated, highly literate first novel from a writer skilled in other fields. It holds much promise for future work in this genre.