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Who stole one of Egypt's most priceless treasures? The Egyptian authorities and Interpol believe they know the identity of the culprit: "Sir John Smythe," the suave and dangerously charming international art thief who is, in fact, John Tregarth, the longtime significant other of famed art expert and sometime sleuth Vicky Bliss.
But John swears he is retired—not to mention innocent—and he vows to clear his name. With complete faith in her man's integrity, Vicky takes a hiatus from her job at a leading Munich museum and follows him to the Middle East. But dark days and myriad dangers await John, Vicky, and her employer, the rotund gourmand and insatiable adventurer Herr Doktor Anton Z. Schmidt. And the stakes are elevated considerably when a ransom note arrives accompanied by a grisly memento—because now it appears that murder has been added to the equation.