Cassandra Reilly, the freelance translator and travel junkie finds herself in post-communist Eastern Europe in this novel. While cooling her heels in Budapest while attempting to secure rail tickets and visas to journey to Beijing on the trans-Mongolian express she falls in once more with her old friend Jacqueline Opal, part owner of a secretarial bureau in Hungary. On a train she also encounters a group of tourists travelling to Transylvania. Soon afterwards she gets a call to say that one of them has been accused of murdering the doctor at a health spa and could she help. With a long wait in prospect for a ticket to Beijing and the attractions of Jacqueline's business partner and former gymnast Eva in prospect, she agrees.
On arrival in Transylvania she finds herself not only having to attempt to extricate Gladys Bentwhistle of Tucson from the murder charge and attract the attentions of Eva, but also dealing with the Snapp family and their silent daughter Emma, the politics of international adoption, the legacy of the Ceaucescu regime, tensions between Hungarians and Rumanians, and a host of other issues in which only her wit and common sense can see her through.
To be honest, while I enjoyed the book the characters didn't really engage my interest – while a wonderful cast of eccentrics they somehow didn't completely come to life on the page for me. However as with all reviews this is a personal matter and you might fall madly in love with any one of them! The plot is good and both the killer and their motive are not obvious till the end.
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