Inspector Sam Blackstone (Rendezvous with Death, 2003, etc.) is plucked from the ranks of the Metropolitan Police for a plum assignment he’s sure to hate.
Soon after the Tsar of All the Russians makes the Prince of Wales a gift of a Fabergé egg, His Royal Highness is set upon by brigands who kill the peasant guarding the royal bedchamber, lay hands upon his person and make off with the egg. Sir Roderick Todd, an experienced civil servant who knows nothing about serving as assistant commissioner of police, decides that Blackstone is the ideal person to accompany him on a fact-finding trip. The trouble, as far as Blackstone can see, is that he won’t have much opportunity to find facts. The aristocrats who shared the hospitality of Count Rachinsky’s country estate with the Prince regard Blackstone as little more than Sir Roderick’s butler; they certainly aren’t about to submit to his questions. Worse, the servants who might be willing to talk to him know no more English than he does Russian. Fortunately, Scottish governess Agnes McDonner is more than happy to talk out of school. And even though Blackstone’s trademark twitting of his superior rapidly wears thin, Spencer has several pleasing surprises in store.
Blackstone is no less resourceful than you’d expect from such an old hand. But Spencer’s resourcefulness in throwing him curves and planting evidence for him to ferret out is truly impressive.