One of a little mini-series featuring the Central Crimes Bureau, loosely portrayed as an arm of the British SIS. Overseen by 'the Minister', a regular cast of 'officials' investigate criminal cases that might be embarassing to 'the authorities'.
Set in the late 1980's, the story mingles the Irish peace process with a sex scandal. The latter given topical effect by the relevance of the AIDS virus to the plot. It is an ambitious plot about North/South politics which was slightly diminished by 'real' events in the last decade or so.
The lead investigator is the retired Ludovic Fender 'a great carcasse of a man, once grossly fat and now just fat'; more Nero Wolfe than Inspector Dover. He is ably assisted by the dark-haired risk-taker Antonia, his acolyte and object of his lascivious thoughts.
Given the political element, the detective story often becomes secondary to keeping the lid on the solution of the crime. The novel cracked along often with quite adult themes and content. Very readable, if not top drawer. Nice theme of power as an aphrodisiac.