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A beautiful Cornish coastal village is the setting for a highly sinister conspiracy involving a kidnapped baby, mysterious monks and an almost irresistible new perfume…

‘Joan Aiken’s triumph with this genre is that she does it so much better than others’ New York Times Book Review

Martha works for an advertising agency, filming a TV commercial on location on the stunning Cornish coast. The client is the eccentric owner of a chemicals company that has invented a new, almost irresistible perfume, and Martha is in charge of shooting the romantic ads – unfortunately starring his beautiful but highly manipulative daughter-in-law.

Before long, Martha finds herself embroiled in the conspiracy over the perfume’s true origin – to say nothing of a kidnapped baby, sinister monks, her own long-since vanished ex-husband and a series of exploding soup cans. And what of her own floundering love life…?

‘Witty and acute … a nice romantic thriller’ Punch


Witty and acute ... a nice romantic thriller
Brilliant light-hearted picture of search for missing formula ... very funny
Julian Symons, SUNDAY TIMES
Joan Aiken has an eye for original situations and characters ... a stolen formula, a kidnapped baby and a strange brotherhood keep the plot bubbling. An engaging story with one of the nicest babies I have met for a long time
Superior stylish thriller with advertising agency background. A four month old baby steps into a key role in a headlong series of chases ... characterisation of bizarre cast bang on target... the writing is at once witty and sensitive