Just when you thought his romantic problems had been resolved for good (Worst Fears Realized, 1999), Stone Barrington is snatched from the brink of holy matrimony by still another well-timed homicide.
Does anyone see any reason why the hunky lawyer and Mafia princess Dolce Bianchi, already married by the mayor of Venice in a civil ceremony the day before, shouldn't be joined indissolubly together by the influential Cardinal Bellini in a Mass "at St. Mark's, on the square of the same name"? Yes, indeed. Glamourpuss journalist Arrington Calder, the love of Stone's life, has called weakly for him from the bed of the Beverly Hills mental hospital where she's been taken in amnesiac collapse following the convenient murder of the movie-star husband, Vance Calder, she'd thrown Stone over for several volumes back. Even Dolce's father, suave Sicilian don Eduardo Bianchi, agrees that no gentleman could turn a deaf ear to the damsel's plea. It's a tough job, of course, but somebody's got to take on the accommodating servants, fawning admirers, and willing women who dot the landscape whenever Stone's in town. And somebody's got to track down the size 12 Nike that left a footprint at the murder scene when the police decline. Stone, who wonders, "Why were women always walking around naked in front of him just when he was trying to be good?" manfully fights off all comers till chapter 33. But since the most determined of the ladies is Dolce, who's turned up in L.A. stalking him, calling herself Mrs. Barrington, and abusing him to her fearsome father, it's lucky for him that this ludicrous case is a walk in the park.
Given a mystery that's unmysterious, unsuspenseful, and inconclusive, the only possible interest here is in the continuing saga of Stone's amours, which, like the case itself, are still unresolved at the fadeout.