Laura, a rich young American widow now married to French businessman Paul Chabre, is on the run through the South-France countryside, convinced that her husband is trying to kill her, but not knowing why. The why, in fact, turns out to be a complicated maze going back to Paul's shrouded childhood behind the Iron Curtain, to his double life as both French gentleman and ruthless blackmailer-kidnapper-spy. And while all this is unraveling, Laura gets help from longtime friends Solange and Robert, stirs the embers with old flame Francois, and finds responsive, alert, patient allies in French officialdom. Sounds busy? It is indeed--with almost enough characters for a Russian novel and more than enough coincidences for one by Dickens. But Marsland keeps it all moving tightly and cleanly, with grand French locales and a chic, gritty, resourceful heroine. An appealing mystery/suspense/gothic hybrid.