Trojan Gold

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Minnesotan Vicky Bliss, six feet tall and gorgeous, receives a bloodstained envelope containing a photograph of a woman wearing golden jewelry. She assumes that it is a copy of an old but very famous photo of Sophia Schliemann bedecked in the fabled Trojan gold, but something is not quite right with the photo; its vintage is recent and the woman is not Mrs. Schliemann. With her jolly but inept boss in tow, Vicky traces the photograph to the innkeeper in Bad Steinbach, a picturesque village nestled in the Bavarian Alps. Five other art historians had also stayed with the same innkeeper in the previous year; one by one they reappear, among them an East German. Vicky’s nemesis and true love, art forger Sir John Smythe, is also on the scene for reasons of his own. Amid the Christmas cheer the hunt is on in deadly earnest; the blood on the envelope turns out to be the innkeeper’s, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver on the way to the mailbox.

As Vicky races to find the gold, she manages to stay one step ahead of a murderer who may be a friend--or a lover. The odds are in the killer’s favor, however, and a final, deadly confrontation high in the snowy Alps decides the fate of the gold. Or does it? The surprises are not over; even Smythe has one of his own for Vicky, in a plot twist derived from the three novels preceding TROJAN GOLD.

Peters is in top form: the plot is brisk, the dialogue outrageously witty, and the characters crazily believable. This fourth installment in the Vicky Bliss series is a surefire winner.