Phryne Fisher is on holiday. When she arrives in Sydney, her maid Dot finds that her extremely respect-able sister Joan has vanished, leaving her small children to the neglectful care of a resentful husband. What has become of Joan, who would never leave her babies?
Then while Phryne is visiting the university, the very pretty Joss and Clarence ask her to find out who has broken into the Dean's safe and stolen a number of things, including the Dean's wife's garnets and an irreplaceable illuminated book called the Hours of Juana the Mad. An innocent student has been blamed.
So Phryne girds up her loins, loads her pearl-handled .32 Beretta, and sallies forth to find mayhem, murder, black magic, and perhaps a really good cocktail before more crime erupts.
Kerry Greenwood has written sixteen books in the Phryne Fisher series with no sign yet of Miss Fisher hanging up her pearl-handled pistol.