The world’s greatest jewel thief is called up to save the British crown jewels—and manages to have a little lunch along the way.
In her latest starring droll and perfectly lazy Kick Keswick (Priceless, 2004, etc.), Kellogg spins the thinnest thread of plot into a breezy, addictive entertainment with more smarts than it initially lets on. Kick is ensconced in delicious semi-retirement in Provence with husband Thomas, a onetime Scotland Yard inspector who as a sideline used to pinch people’s paintings and leave them at the police station with a note admonishing the owners to be more careful. When some of the Queen’s jewels are stolen, Thomas asks his bride to help recover them. The prime suspect is the Queen’s ex-valet, believed to have gone to ground in Mont-St.-Anges, an utterly secret valley in the Swiss mountains that serves as a hideout for the top one percent of the one percent, lorded over by multi-billionaire George Naxos. Thomas deposits Kick on the train to St. Moritz, but she changes outfits and steals away, determined to crack this case alone. First it’s off to Paris for some shopping (Thomas unwisely let slip that there was no limit on expenses) and working contacts in the world of the ridiculously wealthy. Before long, Kick has a believable identity as a Romanian princess and is lounging in Mont-St.-Anges. She’ll get around to finding the jewels eventually, after bolstering her stamina with a vigorous regimen of spa treatments and fabulous dinners. Kick is a delightful protagonist: utterly indulgent and yet self-disciplined, needing only herself to get through life, but loving her husband for the fun of it. Kellogg’s burnished prose deftly immerses readers in a deeply pleasurable world of shameless wealth, yet neither author nor heroine ever seems like a snob.
To be read by a roaring fire, with a plate of petits fours and a Kahlua café close at hand.