Thirteenth in the Yellowthread Street series and compared to, say, Sci Fi, a lesser outing. Still, for atmosphere, flamboyance, and an outrÃ‰ insouciance, Marshall is unequalled. Here, the major case is Insp. Feiffer's: Why were four people driving for almost six miles in a van with no lights, the radio blaring a rarely heard opera score, the back filled with second, quality plate glass--until they crashed into a truck head-on, shredding the four and severing the truck driver's hand? An autopsy of the remaining bits reveals that a woman was driving and that she was shot in the head just before impact. Meanwhile, Detective O'Yee, manning the station's crank call line, is confronted with Chi, a ten-year-old street sleeper with no family and no possessions--except a fully loaded luger that he stole from a corpse. And cops Spenser and Auden, in their typically demented fashion, attempt to deal with a rampaging Dalmation that has vandalized an apothecary shop. Eventually, all three cases converge in the same building, boarded up these past 18 months--ever since a van with five drunken revelers crashed into it. Feiffer's painstaking detective work draws him from here to the truck driver's mansion--and, of course, to the obligatory Marshall scene of stupefying madness. A bravura talent run amok; Marshall's seething, teeming Hong Bay denizens are desperately in need of a compelling plot. Too much style, too little substance.