A lighthearted, welcome reappearance for Superintendent Perry Trethowan (Death by Sheer Torture)--whose aristocratic if loony family-tree now makes him the natural choice for a top cop assignment: he's supposed to watch over the gorgeous but giddy Princess Helena, a minor Royal, who has received an obscure death-threat. And Trethowan soon finds that, while the princess spends endless boring hours doing her royal thing to perfection (largely in the service of the aged), her social life is neither chaste nor correct. Her close friends include: a hot-tempered football player from Northern Ireland, a cynical actor, a married politician, an impecunious gambler, and reporter Bill Tredgold . . . who has recently died under odd circumstances. So there are plenty of suspects when Princess Helena's fussy, precise secretary is murdered (a faked suicide)--and, thanks to the incidental appearance of a name that rings a bell in Trethowan's memory, he's able to uncover the culprit . . . and a subtle con game. All in all: Barnard at his breeziest--taking sharp but unmalicious readings of the Royals and their hangers-on; and if it's all a trifle too giddily contrived to rank with his best, it's still remarkably smooth entertainment, with Trethowan's immensely likable narration as the primary asset once again.