The fourth Vicky Bliss mystery book.

Publication year: 2000
Format: print
Publisher: Avon
Page count: 354

Vicky Bliss works for Professor Schmidt at the Munich National Museum. She’s also a part-time sleuth and Schmidt loves to take part in her cases. It’s been some months since their last case in Sweden and they don’t know if Vicky’s mysterious sometime-boyfriend John Smythe, who is also a gentleman thief, is alive or not. In fact, Schmidt has even erected a statue for Smythe’s memory. Then someone sends Vicky a picture of Frau Schliemann who is wearing the Troyan gold jewelery her husband found. And yet, on closer inspection the woman isn’t Mrs. Schliemann and the picture is much more current. The envelope has a large stain of blood but no return address, no notes, no letters. The gold vanished during WW II and Schmidt is increasingly convinced that now he and Vicky have a way to find it. Then a mysterious man follows Vicky.

Many of Vicky’s old friends (or ”friends”) turn up. Tony, the arrogant historian and Dieter the practical jokester are both fun but they both just assume that Vicky is sexually available for them. Luckily, Vicky is a tall and strong woman who can handle herself. Schmidt is in top form here, trying to sneak around and shadow people in increasingly ludicrous outfits.

The setting is around Christmas time and the book has a couple of nice descriptions of the German festivities in the nearby Bad Steinbach.

This is a fun, at time farcical, story. The mystery isn’t as dominant as the jokes and witty dialog. It’s the fourth book in the series and I recommend reading the previous books first. While I personally like the early Amelia Peabody books the best (so far) I do enjoy the Bliss books a lot, too.