The KGB and the American Embassy form an uneasy alliance to find the men who murdered Moscow's CIA station chief--in a thriller by Holland (Let a Soldier Die, 1984) distinguished by starkly accurate depictions of Russian and Georgian backstreets. In the midst of early Gorbachev disorder, a team of masked thugs attacks a Moscow restaurant at the height of its evening business, wounds several of the patrons and staff, sets fire to the place, and departs leaving an unidentified corpse--a well-dressed Westerner who'd been enjoying dinner with a ravishingly beautiful woman, who disappeared in the uproar. Days later, the body is recognized to be that of Charles Hutchins, the American Embassy's top spy. What to do? The Americans don't want to admit that Hutchins came from the CIA, and the Soviets don't want to admit that they know who Hutchins was. Neither side has the slightest idea what Hutchins was doing in the expensive cooperative restaurant. Benjamin Martin, a visiting scholar who had come to like Hutchins a great deal suggests, joining the KGB in the search for the killers, and, to the surprise of all parties, the KGB accepts the idea. There is a flurry of activity, and within weeks there are arrests, but neither Martin nor Sergo Chanturia, Martin's opposite number from the KGB, believes that the men who have gone to jail are the real culprits. On his own, Martin follows up on the missing beauty, and Chanturia follows up on details of the murder contained in the depositions of the patrons. Martin finds love, and Chanturia, whose investigation takes him back to the Tblisi of his childhood, finds that he is rather more of a Georgian than the model Soviet spy he believed himself to be. Superb. The credible plot is firmly anchored in the reality of crumbling Soviet political life, the setting in the reality of crumbling Soviet streets. Not to be missed.