Author Hood, himself a retired spy, brings back Alan Trosper (Spy Wednesday, 1985)--now in a search for the murderer of a peacefully retired spy and, more importantly, the motive. The setting is England and the Continent, and the details reflect the cozy physical and mental elegance of the old-world spy clubs--yet much, maybe even most, of the pleasure of this thriller comes from the depiction of the American spy Trosper and his colleagues as not only capable but every bit as sophisticated, thoughtful, and generally presentable as their opposite numbers in London. Gone are the embarrassing clumpy shoes, burr haircuts and other Yank gaucheries. Neither is there any creepy Anglo-worship. Hero Trosper is married to an aristocratic Englishwoman, but it's for love. He and his bosses are as subtle and smart as their British oppos. But, alas, the case they are all on may be almost too subtle. Trosper sets out first to prove that his one-time colleague Peter Gandy was murdered, done in in a sneaky old-fashioned Moscow way--and then to find out what the poor old lush could possibly have known to bring him to such grief. His investigation takes him to the pre-perestroika espionage hotspots of Geneva and Vienna, where there still seems to be plenty of good old cold warfare if you know where to look. A wealth of fine characters and intelligent observations--which, fortunately, largely distract from a slightly creaky and occasionally confusing plot.