Missing from the Links

10.49

The detective, golf, and bed partners duo of Zach Roper and the Thai Princess untangled some tough cases of murder, sexual stalking, embezzlement and political intrigue in “Mixed Foursome: The Zach Roper Mysteries” volume one, while remaining competitive on the links. Now they are onto something new, kidnapping…or rather Zach is onto it as the […]

The detective, golf, and bed partners duo of Zach Roper and the Thai Princess untangled some tough cases of murder, sexual stalking, embezzlement and political intrigue in “Mixed Foursome: The Zach Roper Mysteries” volume one, while remaining competitive on the links. Now they are onto something new, kidnapping…or rather Zach is onto it as the Princess is the victim. It starts routinely enough, an invitation to play a celebrity pro-am tournament at a newly-built links-type course on one of the scenic San Juan Islands of Washington State. Plenty of free booze and bonhomie, which suits the Princess just fine, an air-headed eye candy TV actress duffer partner for Zach, who drives him up the wall. He’s in a foul mood, worried about the Princess’ heavy drinking and his own fading golf game. She’s more than slightly sloshed when off the course but sharp when on it. Then thugs appear on the Oceanside sixteenth hole whisking her away to who knows where and leaving Zach, who tried to save her, gravely wounded. Zach fights to recover from his wounds while finding out what happened to his Princess. The leads are slow in coming, and when they do come, they take him down one blind alley after another. A criminal mastermind is behind this caper, but who is he? And why did he do it? An ailing Zach needs help to solve this mystery. Then some old friends rally to his side, most importantly Jean-Jacques Champion (aka Mark Anthony Harrison), whose long-hidden identity he unmasked in “Murder Goes for the Green”. The two are now friends despite the fact that Zach made JJ’s unsavory past public. JJ has the money and the international connections Zach will need if he is going to have any chance of solving this, his most important, case. That money attracts some new helpers including North Dakota’s only living expert on Mongolia and an old CIA Air America pilot from the Vietnam War who is now into windmills. Zach will need all these folks and more, including a dwarfish multilingual Buddhist woman “finder of lost persons” to replace the Princess, at least in her crime solving capacity. The Police, both American and Canadian, are of little help, though they try hard. It seems like the perfect crime. All the kidnappers are hired hands. All are eventually caught, but they know nothing except the orders they were given…and when Zach and his motley crew find out who Mr. Big is, they also find that there is no way they can touch him. They know whodunnit, but not why, and most importantly they still have no idea where the Princess is or if she is still alive. Months go by without progress. Then the Mounties get a lead that comes to them very nearly from beyond the grave, a lead that involves a Grand Champion Ram. That sets Zach and his crew off and running, quite literally to the ends of the earth, to a place known to few beyond philatelists. Does any of this make sense to you? Well it doesn’t make sense to them either, still they slog on until it starts making sense, and when it does they have some tough decisions to make, decisions that involve reference to CIA documents, old Soviet maps, “Janes Fighting Aircraft”, medical texts on alcohol detoxification, and the services of a small army of Thai electricians. If you can’t figure out the solution based on those clues you’ll have to read the book. It all started with a friendly game of golf and golf is the key to solving the mystery. Not the only key but the most important one. Golf explains the whole bizarre thing. You could say that it’s a sports mystery with a twist of international intrigue. There are spooks and spies along with the duffers. It’s not your usual golf book. You’ll find nothing that will improve your backswing or take so much as a single stroke off your score. Still someday, perhaps during the dead of winter when golf is out of the question, you might want to pick it up. And there will be more to come….

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