Benny Freedman, the Irish-Jewish homicide cop from San Diego, Calif., previously seen in Dirty Money and The Bandini Affair , is off to Ireland in this engaging caper. On sick leave to recover from wounds received in the line of duty, Benny is idly rummaging around the cellar when he discovers a packet of letters sent by Irish relatives to his mother, Deirdre Callaghan, who is now deceased. Intrigued and at loose ends, Benny takes off for Belfast and lands in the middle of a murder mysterynot to mention a very serious time of political troubles. The mystery concerns the death of his cousin Sean, murdered, it appears, because he courted a Protestant. Were the murderers Protestants bent on preventing a mesalliance? Or was it the Catholics, for the same reason? Benny's reaction is: a plague on all three houses (counting the British as the third). Unfortunately for Benny, sweet cousin Catherine is utterly persuaded that God has sent him to Ireland on a triple mission: (a) to solve the murder, (b) to convert to Catholicism, as a result of which (c) he will marry her. Every one of these tasks seems impossible to the good lieutenant, but he does manage to get one of them done and along the way provides a thoroughly entertaining read.