In a change of pace from Joyce’s usual pseudo-gothic fare (House of Dreams, 2001, etc.), heroine Claire Hayden goes from socialite to spy without breaking a nail.
Claire doesn’t know why or when she and David began to drift apart. Could it be her 80 hours a week of charity work? But the abandoned dogs and cats of San Francisco need her so much, and Claire just loves animals. As for the neglected neighbor children she invites over to play with the strays: What does David want her to do, tell them to go home? She’s so miffed, she could ask for a divorce. No, no . . . it’s David’s 40th birthday, and she’s planned a superspecial celebration. But the bastard’s not interested! Claire is supermiffed now. Then she finds David with his throat cut from ear to ear and manages a pathetic sniffle or two for old times’ sake. Who could have done such a thing? Enter British hottie Ian Marshall to pat Claire on the back and advise her that David had run afoul of Lionel Elgin, a treasonous Englishman left over from WWII. Elgin escaped the various traps set for him way back when but not before killing quite a few of the good guys first. Segue back in time to England and meet Rachel, a nice Jewish girl, who’s in love with Eddy “Hawk” Marshall, a daring aviator from Brooklyn. Her stern papa forbids the union in no uncertain terms, but Rachel ignores him. Inexorably drawn into a complicated plot involving spies and counterspies, she does her heroic best to save her lover. Segue forward in time to Claire, who has just discovered that her father, an international art collector, had something to do with all of this. In fact, he may not even be her real father! Will Claire ever find out the secret of her parentage? And will those sinister men please, please stop following her around?
A heaping helping of Joyce baloney.