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Peters' well-established comic touch verges (quite agreeably) on parody this time--as heroine Elizabeth Jones chases around Denmark in a blithe contempo-suspense flap-doodle. Elizabeth, on vacation from her publishing PR job, is blissfully winging her way to Europe for her first time. . . when, on the plane, she spots her idol: beak-nosed US/Danish countess Margaret Rosenberg, Nobel Prize-winning historian/novelist/feminist. And soon, after a mysterious airport accident involving Margaret's secretary, Elizabeth--who's been failing all over Margaret and surly son Christian--is Margaret's new, temporary assistant. (In irresistibly human, Peters-heroine style, she privately hugs herself and makes "low squealing sounds indicative of subdued rapture.") But things promptly go whacko, of course: Christian warns Elizabeth that Margaret is loony-bin material; Margaret (supposedly working on a study of Denmark's medieval Queen Margaret) disappears; a ransom note arrives, demanding "Margaret's bathrobe" (!) in return for Margaret; and when Elizabeth and Christian go to Tivoli to fulfill this ransom request, they glance at the carousel giraffe and see Margaret--who (riding sidesaddle) throws a plum, with a message inside, at Christian's face before disappearing again! Is she fleeing in terror from a gang? Is she bonkers? Who is "the very large person in the knitted cap. . . running on and off the stage like a character in a Pinter play?" Well, Elizabeth and Christian will eventually find all the answers (and love)--but not before they're abducted, chained up, sort-of tortured (by boredom), trapped on a pig farm, and led by Margaret to Queen Margaret's bathrobe. . which is stashed away, along with assorted sparklers, in a secret sarcophagus. Silly but cuddly, with Danish sightseeing as a bonus: a tongue-in-cheek charmer.
Pub Date: May 19th, 1982
ISBN: 0380733382
Page count: 852pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1982


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