There's something lost and waiflike about Emma Passant, a professional magician who was orphaned as an infant and raised by Jacques Passant, aka Pepe, her beloved grandfather. When the story opens, Pepe has just been murdered in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Shortly thereafter, wealthy antiques dealer Henri-Pierre Caraignac, who has just befriended Emma, is found shot dead in his hotel room. The thickheaded S.F. police don't see any connection between the two crimes--even though the men were killed by the same gun. Then there's the disappearance of the model boat in whose secret compartment Pepe may have kept a treasure. Emma, unexpectedly well off from an inheritance, determines to find out the connection between the two dead men. Her search takes her to the Caribbean island of San Marcos, where she discovers that Pepe may have had an unsavory past; to New York, where she tracks down Henri-Pierre's last movements; and to Paris, where she discovers the truth about the two men--and herself. Though insecure, Emma lands some pretty sharp verbal blows. And her dance training, which enables her to kick like a mule, comes in handy. Mathes (The Girl with the Phony Name) employs too many red herrings, however, in dressing up this family melodrama as a complex mystery. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996 Release date: 03/01/1996 Genre: Fiction
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