A late Victorian minim of mystery and romance, but Butler, as usual, tricks it all out with dash and a brisk snap of ribbons--this time jaunting on the periphery of the German/English ""royal mob."" Trelawney Adair, impoverished in spite of her sister Daisy's marriage to Prince Frederick of Friedberg, is unexpectedly eased into a sinecure in the employ of Sophie, Dowager Empress, formerly Princess Royal of England. But, within the small household and the grand manse of the sisters Adair, deaths and illnesses begin to take place. While Daisy's intimate marital disappointments surface, and Trelawney is puzzled by her own attraction to Frederick, a poisoner is at work, a poisoner who is at first capriciously experimental, and then tragically effective. Before Daisy's death, Trelawney flirts with her own fate as she follows an apricot-colored cape into certain danger. Castles and courts, a fanciful view of the Kaiser and poor Sophie, and some inventive toxic chemistry.