Next in Fidelis Morgan's hugely entertaining series featuring the irrepressible Countess Ashby de la Zouche and her stupendously bosomed former maid, Alpiew One of the richest Duchesses in the country has lost her husband (in a West Indian diving expedition) and her mind. She has gained a considerable fortune in the process, though, and the grief (and delight) have gone straight to her head. Now a woman with means, she's on the look-out for a new husband. But how can she ensure her pospective mate isn't just after her cash? The Countess has a failsafe solution: the man must be richer than her to start with. Meanwhile a new craze is sweeping London: gambling on Stocks, and Alpiew has made a killing after wisely investing in West indian sugar. Unfortunately her newfound wealth brings with it the serious charge of coin clipping, and to make matters worse, the man who sold her the stocks is found shot through the heart with a musket. As London gets hotter and stickier, the Countess discovers that the dead man was a relative of the mad Duchess and follows her to the country, where she finds the rakish Lord Lovemore (in the guise of the Emperor of China) eager to marry the Duchess before her family can put her fortune under legal restraint. Through the vagaries of the new trade in Stocks and the obsession of Society with amassing money from nowhere, the trail leads the Countess and Alpiew through some amazing discoveries, ending with a chase through the stalls of Bartholomew Fair.