Diamond for the Devil by Nickie Fleming
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France, early 18th century.
A priceless string of diamonds is said to bring disaster to the one wearing it, so people say. Young Marguerite de Vallencieux -- a runaway who must learn how to survive on the streets of Paris -- knows nothing of this reputation, but as soon as the diamonds are presented to her, a series of accidents befall her.
She seeks help. Unfortunately, some people are not whom they claim to be, and it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish fact from fiction. She can only rely on her cleverness of mind and her feelings.
Will she be able to fight off evil, and find her way to love and happiness through all this turmoil?
Traffic in Paris was in a mess once more. Small wonder, thought Marguerite, with this nice spring weather everyone wants to go out.
"Madame la baronesse?" A face popped up next to the window of the carriage. "The coachman says we're probably stuck here for an hour or more. Is there anything I can do for you in the meantime?"
"I'm in no hurry, Henri." She sighed nevertheless. One hour could be a long time, and the coach would get hotter as the sun reached its zenith. Could she? The new idea became more attractive by the second.
"As it is, I've changed my mind," she announced. "I want to go for a walk. We are not far from the Pont Neuf, are we? I'd like to have a look around there. You can come along to protect me. Come, help me out."
While he offered her his hand, she saw the servant frown.
"It is my duty to warn Madame that the bridge is an unsafe place for people of quality, especially when they are so richly dressed. You'll be an open invitation to every pickpocket present."
Marguerite could not prevent a light smile. Henri had served the De Laneuil family for ages and had grown very protective towards its members. "I'm sure you're exaggerating, Henri. Besides, you'll be there to watch over me. Don't I notice a big gun between your belt?"
"I'll keep my eyes open", he swore, cursing under his breath for the folly his mistress displayed.
There were no ho-hum moments and I found myself going back to read again and again until I had finished.
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