When her vacation cruise is canceled, dermatologist Serena Gregory is stuck in her Florida condo. Needing a diversion, she sets her sights on uncovering the truth about her mysterious new neighbor, Darius Maxwell. When Serena and her pal Ariel eavesdrop, they overhear a shifty-looking man threaten Darius by saying, "We have your mother."

Art dealer Darius has been putting up with his mother's wild schemes all his life, but her new one is a doozy. Darius learns he may be crown prince of the tiny country of Masolimia. He's not convinced, but his mother is quite determined and even stages her own kidnapping to force Darius to accept the crown.

Darius wants to prove he's not the direct blood heir, but to do that he needs to get his hands on a painting that's locked up in a local museum. Somehow, before Darius knows what has happened, Serena and Ariel have devised a plan to help him out. The weird part is that this crazy scheme just might work.

Offbeat characters and zany plans make this romantic-comedy caper tons of fun. Like the screwball comedies of the past, The Prince Next Door sizzles with exuberance and madcap adventure. (Apr., 384 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith