17 November 1990
Sunshine, an idyllic and almost forgotten island under British rule, is shortly to become independent. But a few days before this event is to take place, the British governor of the island is shot. Her Majesty's secret service is called in and Sam McCready asks Desmond Hannah of Scotland Yard to take charge of the case. When Hannah arrives on Sunshine, he notices the subdued atmosphere of fear reigning there. An aggressive presidential election campaign is being conducted, but neither of the two candidates appears to be very trustworthy. The attractive widow Lady Beatrix Coltrane tells Hannah that most of the island's inhabitants are not looking forward to independence because they fear that either of the two candidates for the presidency will abuse the island for his own benefit. One of them, Tomson, is probably involved in illegal drug-peddling in connection with the Colombian Medellin cartel; the other one, Livingstone, is said to be collaborating with the Cuban government. Lady Beatrix' representations are confirmed by Reverend Drake, the island's priest, whom Hannah also discovers to be a strict opponent of independence. Ernie Favaro, a policeman from Miami, arrives on Sunshine. He is investigating the murder of one of his colleagues by members of the Medellin cartel. A hot trail has brought him to the island. The two cases could be connected, and Hannah and Favaro agree to collaborate. But as they have no official permission to carry on their investigations, they are in constant danger of being arrested by the local chief constable, himself suspected of corrupt behaviour. Shortly after the two policemen called on Tomson, one of the candidates for the presidency, somebody tries to kill them. But they are able to intercept and arrest the gunner. To their surprise, he is none other than Reverend Drake. He claims to have missed the target on purpose, intending to draw the attention of the international press to the precarious political situation on the island. After the arrest of Reverend Drake, the chief constable at last has a pretext for apprehending Hannah and Favaro for illegal possession of firearms. But suddenly, to everybody's surprise, Sam McCready arrives on the scene and identifies himself as the interim governor of the island. He takes charge of the case himself. Lady Beatrix makes certain insinuations which lead Hannah to conjecture that she is the perpetrator of the governor's death. Her motive, like Drake's, appears to have been to draw inter-national attention to Sunshine. But Hannah has no proof for his theory. Meanwhile, Ernie Favaro believes to have found a hot scent in the case of his murdered colleague. When he had called on candidate Tomson, he had noticed a valuable edition of Milton's "Paradise Lost". This is the book his murdered collegue had mentioned in connection with the Medellin cartel. Favaro is able to convince governor Sam McCready that Tomson's house must be searched. But the governor prefers the elegant British solution and pays an official first visit to Tomson. This gives Favaro the opportunity to pocket the book. In it, he finds a microfilm with incriminatory data such as the names, bank accounts, business partners, funds etc. of the Medellin cartel. Tomson is shot when he tries to leave Sunshine. The presidential election is postponed until further notice. Sam McCready, who has already become used to the comforts of a diplomat's life, drinks to Lady Beatrix health on her veranda. He is quite willing to let sleeping dogs lie where the death of his predecessor is concerned, and to ask the widow no further questions...
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