. . . but not by the seashore. . . in the New York shell shop she owns and operates, this ex-mystery writer does her best to make this a beach item, carrying on ""my missionary work against the forces of darkness"". . . the ""conspiracy"" which does not permit the general public to appreciate the true quality of conchology. ""I weep for those millions of shells tossed away daily because their beauty and worth were unknown."" However, the book is neither a complete ode nor an oceanography lesson. There were her traumas in setting up shop; the shell shoplifters, Billy and Jesse; the acquaintance who made her living ""sitting"" with pearls in escrow (the touch of flesh brings back the flush); the Cubans who used certain mollusks in voodoo. There are 100,000 recognized species (not recorded here) but if you trip over a Rare Spotted Cowry, it's worth $4,000. Only for those who've heard ""Triton's Trumpet"" and find the call irresistible.