A charming concoction in which the sensible Joan Cook, after a boating mishap on Martha's Vineyard, falls for wealthy playboy Philip Dumas and moves to Paris with him, where they share digs with his dad, Chick, a gone-to-seed archaeologist; Chick's much younger wife, Charlotte; Philip's acerbic sister, Hayden; and world-class mooch Walter Hudson. When tabloid pictures of Philip and a titled beauty appear, Joan departs—and winds up in Africa as gofer to elderly mystery-writer Veronica Filmore as well as local guide to Victoria Falls and environs (and sometime sweetie of sophisticated man-about-the-bush Sidney Cleese). Then the Dumas clan descends, not recognizing a revamped Joan, now calling herself Juanita (don't ask). Off they go, McGuffin hunting, in this case in search of archaeological buried treasure. Two former members of one of Chick's digs die, and the Dumas group retreats to the Vineyard, soon followed by Joan/Juanita and Veronica, who are convinced that Chick will be the next victim. Several twists and guffaws later, Chick is saved, assorted lovers disband and/or are reunited, and there are plans to hotfoot it to the Bosphorus, once again in search of the Mynnia treasure. Preposterous, yes, but good-natured. Blackmur's wicked sense of humor, droll way with a conversational skewer, and blithe disregard of every accepted mystery convention should delight clichÇ-weary readers and win new fans.
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