Master Criminal to Brilliant Amateur Sleuth. A match made in Elizabeth Peters heaven.
John Smythe enters the picture, to the extreme annoyance of gorgeous and brainy Vicky Bliss. But they’re a perfect match, don’t you think? His thieving ways to her sleuthing, verbal footwork to her direct approach, and British stiff-upper lip to her American brash.
And both can con with the best of them.
She’s too tall and buxom? The lady doth protest too much.
Granted, she makes sure all her cons are within legal bounds, just like convincing her boss at the National Museum in Munich into letting her go to Rome, one of the most romantic cities on Earth, to investigate an art forgery.
To her delight, at the Street of Five Moons she realizes her fib was a sound assumption after all.
The clues lead her through Rome’s dusty antique centers and ancient monuments. Along the way, she gets kidnapped, rescued, then kissed soundly by one of the crooks–no other than John Smythe.
Feathers ruffled, Vicky ignores his warnings and hunts him down to the estate of Count Caravaggio. The question now is, is John planning to forge one of the Count’s treasures or is the Count in on it?
The sequel to Borrower of the Night is funnier and paced better. Historical trivia still dot the narrative but does not get in the way of the action as much as it used to in the first book. While the chemistry between master thief and amateur sleuth–antagonistic yet flirtatious–is obvious, spicing things up quite a lot.
I have every intention of following up to see it develop into something else.