Hattie Blackhouse arrives with her companion Miss Bing at her lodgings in Paris. In short order she pushes an intruder down the back stairs, finds out her childhood friend, Robbie Tremaine is unaccountably to be married in two days to the widow of a work acquaintance her parents, is approached at a soirée by an aging french roué, Baron du Pays, is introduced to the intruder, sought out by the enigmatic Monsieur Berry, and interviewed by an un-named official of the English government. Of course there is also a mysterious Comte. All seeking information about her parents strongbox. Oh, and Miss Bing's dead brother and Robbie's widowed fiancé dead husband worked with or for her parents in Egypt.
Long neglected by her parents during her childhood whilst they spent their time pursuing their passion, Hattie does find it disturbing that though her parents neglected to provide emotionally for her, in their death have provided materially for her.
Hattie's famous Egyptologist parents appear to have disappeared without a trace from their Theban dig and are presumed dead. Hattie sets forth to Cairo with Bing to discover the truth. Bodies litter the stage as Hattie forges forward in her quest to locate at the very least her parents bodies. Politics and intrigue jostle each other for prominence. Mysterious references to Napoleon lurk in the background, although he is supposedly confined to Elba. Powerful sources certainly seem to be at play as Bing warns.
Monsieur Berry turns up and Hattie becomes more and more fascinated by him. He-who-was-not-Daniel, as Hattie meditatively refers to him.
Secrets run deep and swift and I certainly did not see a major deception coming. Romance blooms in unexpected ways. The surprises just keep coming!
I really enjoyed the cut and thrust of the action as events piled on top of each other to the point where I wondered if I was watching an enjoyable farce much in the vein of 'The Importance of Being Ernest,' or if Hercule Poirot would suddenly emerge from behind a column. Better still, I was reading a romantic thriller. An excellent read!
A NetGalley ARC