Magisterial work which covers the 207 species, 110 subspecies and 80 forms and variations. The authors attempt to steer a reasonable course between the lumpers and the splitters. The text (which presents systematics, identification data, maps, etc) occupies 130 pages, but the colour plates form the core of the book. They display 3,040 photographs of the shells of all taxa, as well as some paintings of live animals. The 12 monochrome plates are devoted to reconstructions of fossil cowries.