An antiques-restoration prodigy fears the worst when a prospective customer won’t take no for an answer.
It isn’t as if young Lina Townend (Guilty Pleasures, 2011, etc.) doesn’t have her hands full already. Her studio is full of Toby jugs with broken handles and porcelain shepherdesses crying to have their arms reattached. Her mentor, Griff Tripp, has been recruited by a local theater troupe for a production that requires endless hours of rehearsal in a refurbished barley kiln in a Godforsaken industrial park. Her detective boyfriend, Morris, is on assignment in Lyon. And her feckless Pa, a model of down-on-his-luck British royalty, is probably peddling dodgy antiques through a sketchy dealer named Titus Oates. Still, when suave, vaguely French Charles Montaigne offers her “good times all the time—a properly managed work flow, regular hours, paid holidays,” Lina counters with a quick “No thanks.” At which point things promptly go pear-shaped. A series of cruel pranks—a slashed tire, dead fish in the vents—threatens the actors. Griff develops chest pains that require a barrage of National Health–funded tests. A man with lovely eyes seems to be following Lina around the industrial park. Worst of all, her privacy is invaded: She receives a string of bogus postcards, purportedly from Morris, revealing intimate knowledge of her movements. All the while, Charles Montaigne continues to importune, prompting Lina, with Griff in tow, to make a mad dash across the Channel toward what she hopes will be safety.
Despite Lina’s considerable charm, her fifth appearance is just too murky to afford much satisfaction.