Crown Prince Gregory is abroad again and up to his royal ears in murder.
Since the communists tossed them off the throne of Hirtenstein, His Serene Highness’s family has been holed up in genteel poverty in Geneva, giving Gregory (A Better Class of Person, 2003) the excuse to travel Europe in pursuit of his two great loves: classical music and London fashion buyer Liz Blair. Producing a series of concerts in Avignon brings the couple to Provence, away from the disapproving eye of Greg’s Grossmutti. But an urgent message from British crime reporter Barbara Rallenham, followed by a missed appointment, shakes the lovers out of their connubial bliss. Even worse, Rallenham’s fragile, flighty sister Mandy descends upon them. Distraught that Babs has dropped out of sight, Mandy pushes Greg to find her, then trails after him in outfits that would make Madonna blush. On one side of the channel, they follow her scent to the studio of ceramist Estelle Grashenko in trendy Parady; on the other side, to downscale Walthamstow, where she was last seen in the company of a widow named Barnell. But can His Highness connect the potter and the pensioner in time to restore Mandy’s sister to her before an exasperated Liz calls the fashion police?
As Greg and Liz’s romance spins busily in the background, Barclay wisely sets her mystery front and center. Only a too-pat solution mars the brisk dialogue and well-clued plot.