A novel by Michael Crichton, originally published under a pseudonym. Charles Raynaud is a artifact smuggler masquerading as a poisonous snake dealer. He meets an old friend, Richard Pierce in Paris, who will inherit 500 million 1968 USD (about 3 billion USD today), provided he lives to the age 34 and 2 months. He feels that his step-mother Luicenne is out to get him, and he hires his old friend as a bodyguard. But there is a catch, if he dies before that date, all the money gos to charities. And all is most certainly not as it seems...
This book provides examples of the following:
- Action Girl: Jane Mitchell
- Anti-Hero: Raynaud is a a smuggler, and when he loses his temper, bad things happen. He also kills snakes.
- Deadly Doctor: Dr. Johnathan Black
- Femme Fatale: Lucienne
- Gambit Pileup: Richard, Black, Lucienne all have gambits going. They are not compatible.
- Gay Paree: Part of the book takes place here.
- Hookers and Blow: Richard
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Averted. None of the prostitutes in the book are sympathetic.
- Mad Doctor: Averted, Black seems quite sane
- Unwitting Pawn: Raynaud. It doesn't work.
- Wicked Stepmother: Lucienne
- Xanatos Gambit: Jonthan, Lucienne, and Richard all have one, though Herbert Pierce's will is one as well.