Another frothy adventure in the South of France, Adler’s follow-up to There’s Something About St. Tropez (2009).
In this third of a series begun with Those Malibu Nights (2008), reality-TV detective Mac Reilly and his perennial fiancée, sleek Latina stunner Sunny Alvarez, return. In a huge hissy after Mac postpones their nuptials yet again, Sunny boards a Christmas Eve flight from Los Angeles to Paris with her cranky Chihuahua. In first class, she encounters Eddie, a handsome CEO who sympathizes with her distress, and recommends, instead of frigid Paris, Monte Carlo—he even books her hotel room from his laptop. (He’ll later follow her there.) In Monte Carlo, Sunny is spotted by superannuated (and aptly-named) Baltic Eurotrash predator Kitty Ratte. Kitty, constantly looking to exploit the vulnerabilities of the young, rich and beautiful to salve her own bitterness at being none of the above, almost befriends Sunny before being shortstopped by Sunny’s movie-star BFF, Allie. While the women await Mac’s contrite appearance, a crime spree is in progress: In Paris and Monte Carlo, ritzy jewelry emporiums specializing in rare diamonds have been ripped off in spectacular heists. Each time, one robber targeted the youngest and prettiest store employee. The assailant pistol-whipped her Parisian victim, shattering her cheekbone. In Monte Carlo, a young mother died after being shot in the face. Upon arriving in France, Mac is drawn into the robbery-murder investigation. Kitty finds her mark in Eddie and somehow ensnares him in a laughably inept blackmail scheme. Maha, gorgeous Indian slum-dweller turned world-renowned jewelry designer, recruits Sunny (she’s back with Mac, but still determined to reassert her independence) to courier gems back to Mumbai. The whodunit is so transparent that Adler’s real agenda shines through—demonstrating that the young, rich and beautiful are more deserving than the old, ugly and disadvantaged.
Although her acerbic prose is a welcome diversion, Adler’s tell-don’t-show moralizing may have unintended consequences: Readers might sympathize more with Kitty than with her smugly entitled jet-setter nemeses.