Vicky Bliss, the author's with-it art historian heroine (Silhouette in Scarlet
, etc.), content in her job as assistant to Munich's National Museum director Anton Schmidt, is independent in everything but her addiction to crooked art-expert, sometime sleuth, always bigger-than-life Sir John Smythe. John is missing, presumed dead, after their last adventure, but then surfaces soon after Vicky receives an enigmatic clue to the lost gold of Troy, unearthed by Schliemann and unheard of since the fall of Berlin. That clue leads to the Bavarian mountain village of Bad Steinbach, scene of an earlier conference holiday with other museum people—Dieter Streng of Berlin, Tony Lawrence from Chicago, Jan Perlmutter from East Berlin, Elise Cellier of the Louvre. They're all there again, as well as Vicky's boss Schmidt, on the trail of the missing treasure that had, it seems, fallen into the hands of hotel-owner Herr Hoffman, now deceased. Hoffman's blonde, opportunistic widow, married to him but a few months, knows there's a treasure but not its whereabouts, and seems to be living in a state of terror. Meanwhile, Vicky suffers, de rigueur, several escapes from death, this time involving hairy mountain-roads and avalanches; she has the help of watchful protector John, while the others bumble through diverse meals and dead ends. A bit too much farce, ditto cat-and-dog byplay. Overall, the whimsy almost overwhelms the pleasure in this fast, cheerful romantic adventure.
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