It all starts with the missing butler and his wife--who seem to have done a flit in the middle of the night taking all of their belongings (down to the bed) and cleaning out the larder (including the salt and pepper!). Things get more mysterious when the couple's beloved dog, Gaston, shows up dirty and the worse for wear. Phryne begins to suspect foul play. Throw in a missing pirate treasure, the "snipper" (who clips off girls's braids in the wink of an eye), and a smuggling operation and you have all the ingredients for high adventure. But, as Phryne points out to Dot, it's not her fault this time...this mystery just fell into her lap.
The story, as always, is a fast-moving, action-packed adventure. Greenwood introduces us to the most interesting characters and adds another likeable young man to Phryne's entourage. Tinker longs to be a policeman some day and, like most people who meet Miss Fisher for the first time, finds himself in awe of his new employer. Greenwood also gives more of the story to Phryne's adoptive daughters and I look forward the interactions of the younger members of the household in future adventures.
I thoroughly enjoyed this installment. It was a bit of a change...for the first time, there is no enticing young man hanging about. But as they say, a change is a good as a rest. Kerry Greenwood has changed things up in just right the manner and given readers another excellent outing. Four stars.
*Read as part of the Time to Relax and Holiday Read-a-Thons.