The last thing recently widowed Julia Probyn expects to find on the lush and charming island of Madeira is a clue to her husband's mysterious death, for Colonel Jamieson perished somewhere in the wilds of Central Asia while on a top-secret mission for British Intelligence. No sooner does Julia arrive at Madeira with her infant son and his devoted Nanny, however, than a series of strange, sinister, but apparently unconnected events begins thrusting itself upon her.
Displaying her usual intuitive flair for deduction, Julia soon concludes that, for some reason, the Russians are experimenting with a powerful new chemical on Madeira's wild sheep. But why? And why was she told that her husband died "because he went out without wearing his respirator"?
Ann Bridge (1889-1974), or Lady Mary Dolling (Sanders) O'Malley was born in Hertfordshire. Bridge's novels concern her experiences of the British Foreign Office community in Peking in China, where she lived for two years with her diplomat husband. Her novels combine courtship plots with vividly-realized settings and demure social satire. Bridge went on to write novels around a serious investigation of modern historical developments. In the 1970s Bridge began to write thrillers centered on a female amateur detective, Julia Probyn, as well writing travel books and family memoirs. Her books were praised for their faithful representation of foreign countries which was down to personal experience and thorough research.
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