Muriel Spark here writes a version of what happened to Lord Lucan, after he murdered the family's young nanny, tried to murder his wife and fled with the assistance of several rich, dissolute, English acquaintances. Some of these were real friends of course, as it seems, in life as well as the course of this novel, they continued to support him while he was hiding out in various places around the world.
Dr Hildegarde Wolfe, a psychologist living and working in Paris, receives visits from two men claiming to be Lord Lucan. Which is the real one? Are they working together? What is it they know about Dr Wolfe that makes them confident she will not expose them?
This is far too relaxed and self-absorbed to be a mystery in the genré sense of the word and suspense is quite absent, since that is not what Muriel Spark is interested in. The book is a short diverting romp through the conundrum of what really happened to Lord Lucan. There is a certain arid quality since no attempt is made to make any of the characters resonant or to flesh out the actual Lucan mystery itself. Little imagination is expended on what Lucan might really have been up to all these years. The characters are draughts-pieces in Spark's game, which doesn't really make itself felt in the human sense. Intellectually, it is also a bit pointless, and ultimately one doesn't really give a damn.