This is another great novel by Edward Phillips Oppenheim, the prolific English novelist who was in his lifetime a major and successful writer of genre fiction including thrillers and spy novels, and who wrote over a 100 of them. He was the self-styled "prince of storytellers., generally regarded as the earliest writer of spy fiction as we know it today, and invented the 'Rogue Male' school of adventure thrillers. His plotting is as smooth as silk, with the virtue of creating believable characters of genuine sophistication and wit. In this novel, a young American on his yacht, the Bird of Paradise in the harbour at Antibes, is puzzled by the desire he finds in visitors coming aboard at different times to buy the vessel from him. His first mysterious experience is when he finds a girl in full evening dress swimming alongside. The next is when a man occupying an important position in the French Cabinet, who is accompanied by a well-known banker, calls with a demand for sale at a high price. A French gunboat slips into the harbour and drops anchor close to the yacht and remains there. A fascinating danseuse is a visitor.
And so on, and with the material of conspiracies, French politics, love and adventure the story is woven around the yacht with that peculiar polish in dialogue and fascinating colouring characteristic of the popular author. The reader early gets an inkling of what is afoot but the air of mystery never lapses and the necessity for finding out what the ingenuity of the writer is leading up to will be found to continue and grow right through to the end.