Miss Seton sings. Yes, she certainly does. The author seems quite fond of classical musical references: we have elements of Bizet’s Carmen in “Picture Miss Seton” and now a bit of Rimsky-Korsakov becomes an important thread.
This story finds our Miss Seton flying out of her comfy village life. There is a problem with counterfeiting, and the powers that be see fit to send Miss Seton to confer with officers of a Geneva bank about the problem. Seems simple enough. But it isn’t, of course. For one thing, Miss Seton’s fame has preceded her and stories of her valor and cunning have created all manner of misperceptions. This story is awash with plots and counterplots, counterfeiting, art theft and jewelry scams. There is an extensive international cast of authorities, officers, agents, police, and bad guys. Misunderstanding and misdirection abound. Miss Seton visits Geneva, Genoa, Paris, and London (including an onstage cameo appearance in a revue at the Casino de Paris). She faithfully follows her earnest path amid the voluminous drama surrounding her. Poor Miss Seeton finds herself with “a sense of becoming a shuttlecock, airborne in a game the rules of which had not been explained.” It is said we each have a guardian angel. Miss Seton must have a dedicated angelic squadron assigned to her, as she always seems to emerge unscathed or with a few minor bumps scrapes. Some of her valiant defenders, alas, are not so fortunate. And the villains of the piece don’t end up well at all.
It is all quite outrageous and far over the top. And terribly funny. My biggest problem in reading the book was that I frequently found myself laughing so hard I couldn’t see the page for the tears in my eyes. Bravo, Mr. Carvic!