Gregory, deposed Crown Prince of Hirtenstein (Richer than Rubies, 2007, etc.), sticks his highborn schnozz into another murder.
While his grandmother’s meddling has his morganatic romance with lissome fashion designer Liz Blair on hiatus, Greg Crowne escorts Marzelina Zafelda to London’s Museum of Musical Heritage, where the expatriate Polish countess hopes to authenticate the score of a Chopin mazurka whose particulars her patroness, Madame Wiaroz, discovered online. And when the royal researcher is found strangled in the stacks, Chief Inspector Glaston is happy to have Greg’s help, dispatching him to Paris to break the sad news to Marzie’s benefactor. Liz, heaving heard of the murder, naturally flies to his side, and the two set out to retrace the composer’s trip through England and Scotland in the last year of his life, hoping to find a place he wrote the fatal mazurka. They uncover a staggering number of dead ends, stumbling in the process on a line of Chopin souvenirs manufactured by Keepsake Curios in Dover and furnished to gift shops by a shady middleman named Firstead. Dover’s Chief Inspector Valmouth takes a different view of Greg’s involvement than his London counterpart, so it’s up to the feisty pair to prove that Marzie’s murder really does have a local angle.
Although it never gets farther than Edinburgh, this tale of Chopin moves so glacially it reminds you of another Pole some 3,000 miles northward.