“PARDON ME, BUT what’s that you’re drinking?”
I HAD BEEN here in Vila do Mar for a week in my small jewel of a house overlooking the Atlantic. I came for some R & R after completing a particularly demanding case in Brussels. Not that all matters I handle don’t require full dedication in order to straighten out the usually convoluted complications besetting my client’s lives, but this one involved an added wrinkle that upped the intensity—my life was on the line. Escaping two murderous attempts may have sharpened my wits but it did get a bit wearing. I came here to chill out and rest my little gray cells, and there was no better place to do absolutely nothing than this glorious fishing village on the southern coast of Portugal. Because of its low cost of living, which seemed to get less low every year, plus the idyllic climate and aspect, people from all over the world made their permanent residences here, which furnished me with a marvelously varied pool of potential friends to choose from. I was waiting for one right now, but time had little meaning in Vila do Mar, so the fact that Graham was thirty minutes late didn’t bother me a bit. In London or New York (where I also maintained residences) I would have been foaming at the mouth by now or probably gone. Here in the land of what-can’t-wait-till-tomorrow-probably-wasn’t-worth-doing-anyway, I had lots of time to observe the couple at the next table.
“I grew up in Rye,” I said.
Martin took out some letters. “He wrote us about the people he met here. I thought we might start with some of them.”
“I have been charmed right out of my high-heeled sandals by Cynthia Smith’s Impolite Society . . . a refreshing delight.”—The Washington Times
“Cool, sardonic, and unflappable Emma Rhodes sparkles diamond bright in Cynthia Smith’s clever, twisty tales. This highly original series has panache. A winning hand from Busted Flush Press.”—Carolyn Hart, best-selling author of the “Death on Demand” and Henrie O mysteries
“Wonderful! By Dominick Dunne out of Flora Poste, with a healthy mixture of Jessica Fletcher, the effervescent Miss Rhodes resolves sticky situations without ever getting her Manolos muddy. Encore!”—Kerry Greenwood, author of the Phryne Fisher novels
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“Imagine a character with the panache of James Bond, the business purpose and personal code of Travis McGee, and the physical prowess (and appetites?) of Mike Hammer. Then put them into the female form of Emma Rhodes.”—Drood Review of Mystery