Small-time British film producer Charlie Kavanagh's incredible good luck in landing a TV interview with Israeli foreign minister David Bermant and four colleagues sounds too good to be true, and it is: the show is to provide the setting for Bermant's assassination. From the very beginning you can tell that Julia Cornwall--the sexy, willing, suspiciously inexperienced director who recruits Charlie--is up to no good, especially after Eric Lowe, their junior partner on the shoot, kills the actor pretending to be Charlie's backer a few minutes after their meeting, and Charlie watches a bomb in a London airport hotel just fail to vaporize deputy foreign minister Yaacov Tyler. But although Julia keeps producing one phony autobiography after another, it takes besotted Charlie nearly 200 entertaining pages to put together the pieces and worm the truth out of Julia (who's been forced into her role in order to spring her drug- smuggling brother from a Lebanese prison). By that time, Eric and Co. have been assiduously framing Charlie for the Heathrow bombing and sending him bogus cables about his sick mother back in England (a neat twist in store here). First-novelist Hardie's ticking-clock windup isn't on the same level as the cat-and-mouse byplay between Harry and Julia, but the witty, incisive portraits of minor functionaries and the solid Israeli background should keep everybody happy--even Charlie.