A sprightly travelogue with intermittent mysterious overtones.
When retired Chief Constable Alan Nesbitt breaks his ankle, he insists that his wife, Dorothy Martin, set out alone on their planned trip to a gallery opening in Bayeux until he’s recovered enough to travel. About to leave Normandy for Mont-Saint-Michel, Dorothy runs into her friend Penny Brannigan, who shares both a news report about a German woman who nearly drowned in the quicksand near the Mont and a tale going around the art world of forged or stolen medieval manuscripts. Upon her arrival, Dorothy tags along with a tour group guided by young Englishman Peter Cummings. During a stop for some first aid after she slips and falls, they get into a discussion of medieval monk Peter Abelard. The contemporary Peter, a graduate student in liturgical music and hymnody, dreams of making his career by finding some remnant of Abelard’s musical manuscripts. Before Alan arrives, another unidentified person is found badly injured in the crypt at the Mont. Despite her limited language skills, Dorothy, with her nose for mysteries, senses a connection. Far too many people seem interested in Abelard and manuscripts, and some of them, like American A.T. Krider, who says he’s writing a novel, seem to be lying about their interest. The German woman turns out to be not a woman at all but American college professor Sam Houston, who claims that someone tricked him into venturing out onto the dangerous sands and left him to die in the incoming tide. He too is interested in Abelard, and the overwhelmed local police ask Dorothy and the newly arrived Alan to keep watch on him and all those other potential liars.
Dorothy and Alan are a clever pair whose adventures (Smile and Be a Villain, 2016, etc.) always charm even if their mysteries do not.