The improbably plush property that investigative filmmaker Maggie MacGowen has inherited a share of in the 6th arrondisement turns out to come with more than its share of criminal baggage.
No sooner has Maggie arrived in Paris, still tired and grimy from her trip from Laos, to survey the former convent she and her half brother, Freddy Desmoulins, have inherited from their mother, Isabelle Desmoulins, than a cryptic phone call from her fiance, tiresomely well-connected trade consultant Jean-Paul Bernard, summons her to an internet cafe, where she learns that he’s booked her on a flight leaving for Venice that day. Shutting off her phone and swearing off her credit cards, as he’s asked, she boards the flight and soon catches up with Jean-Paul, wounded from a brush with one of the two mysterious men following him and Maggie. He spins a hair-raising tale of his close encounter with a bomb-equipped drone and his escape from death when a volunteer nurse’s throat was cut as she slept in a hotel room he’d originally planned to occupy. Between them, Jean-Paul and Maggie try every dodge they can think of, from ducking into the dressing room of a store’s lingerie department to inviting themselves aboard the yacht of a TV talk show host friend to engaging the services of a teenage Venetian hacker, to lose their pursuers, but nothing works, and nothing tells them why InterCentro, a holding company for Russian business interests, is willing to pay to have them followed. The motive for all this mayhem awaits them back in Isabelle’s home in Rue Jacob—but not the malefactor behind it all, who doesn’t even have the grace to make a personal appearance before the curtain comes down.
The chase across Europe is serviceable, but the motivating intrigue back in Paris is a major letdown, as if Hornsby (Disturbing the Dark, 2016, etc.) had grafted the cloak-and-dagger intrigue onto the not very mysterious story she really wanted to tell of her series heroine’s impending nuptials.