Conor O'Neil is more than a little annoyed when requested to pick up a little note from his boss' old friend, Hoyt Winthrop. Conor immediately smells a rat and realizes there is nothing simple about the task.

Conor works for a secretive committee involved in all levels of national government. Hoyt is a potential nominee for an ambassadorship, and no one wants any unexpected or embarrassing revelations.

Upon visiting the Winthrop home, Conor discovers that the note is a cryptic threat seemingly directed at Hoyt's wife Eva, the CEO of Papillon Cosmetics. Hoyt and Eva think the threat comes from Eva's estranged daughter, Miranda, who works in Paris as a fashion model. By all reports she lives a wild and uninhibited lifestyle. When Miranda was 17 she married fortune hunter Edouard, Count de Lasserre. Eva reportedly paid a hefty sum to end the marriage.

Conor flies to Paris to confront Miranda. On the surface, her behavior confirms the reports, but as Conor digs deeper, the facts don't add up. To learn the truth, and protect Miranda from a vengeful killer, it'll be necessary to unearth some ugly family secrets.

Twisted motives and dark secrets abound in talented author Sandra Marton's engrossing and foreboding tale of suspense and betrayal. (Mar., 384 pp., $5.50)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith