A sure-handed debut introduces failed seminarian/current law- firm researcher Owen Keane, a questing young man often at emotional/philosophical odds with his attorney boss Harry, a college chum, and with his quasi-girlfriend Marilyn, a relentlessly pragmatic librarian. Here, Harry assigns Owen the task of handling client Robert Carteret's request: discover what caused the 1941 plane crash that killed his brother William and his debutante- fiancÇe Lynn. The reclusive Carteret, who makes Howard Hughes seem gregarious, is hidden away on his Long Island estate, while his family fortune is being managed by tough-minded businesswoman Carolyn Vernia. Owen's research leads him to a war-trauma analyst who treated Robert Carteret and, it turns out, forged the request to reopen the '41 episode. Was it an accident or--worse--a double murder? Is that Robert hidden away in the mansion--or William? A trip to the plane-crash site in a New Jersey pine forest ultimately explains all, though the facts can't be verified. Owen, a detective-fiction aficionado, a lifelong windmill tilter, enlivens a rather simple story, particularly in his relationships--with people/his career/life in general.