There are a lot of Ross Thomas novels and many Ross Thomas fans. I've read them all, including "If You Can't Be Good" and "The Yellow Dog Contract." I know Padillo from Wu. This one is the best. This is the Philip St. Ives/go-between rubric at its prime. If I'd only read one Ross Thomas book in my lifetime, this would be it (well, maybe Briarpatch, but that's another story).
London, West London, a stolen sword, conmen, crooked cops, fools in over their heads, femme fatales. This one has it all in the quintessential Thomas ironic tone. The protagonist never mentions Watergate or Vietnam but his cynicism informs on his view. A great book by a great writer.