Enter the world of Olivier and Madison Malin, glittering inhabitants of Paris's exclusive Left Bank. The Malins' life together with their daughter is the stuff of dreams - and carefully-selected celebrity magazines. Madison is a film star: her beauty, talent and perfect accent hiding her Texan roots, and the fact she's just turned forty. Her husband, Olivier, is the darling of the sophisticated Left Bank: philosopher and media personality, he craves adoration (and is a little too willing to return it). Everything seems perfect - if a touch pretentious - until the moment new English nanny, Anna, appears at the doors of their Rue du Bac apartment. Anna unwittingly sets in motion a chain of events that will endanger their charmed lives - in ways no-one could have foreseen...
London Times columnist Muir's impressive fiction debut, an atmospheric tour of Paris, follows the contretemps of "the Great Mind and the Great Body of the Left Bank": Olivier Malin, descendant of an old-line French family (Victorieux Touts is the family motto) and author of Chechnya: Beyond Philosophy, is the telegenic intellectual pere de famille with an insatiable appetite for fine cheeses and slender young mistresses, while his wife, Texas-born "sub-pornographic art-house" film star Madison, is too old for nude scenes, but too young to retire. The discomfiture underlying their marriage ignites when their seven-year-old daughter, Sabine, disappears in a theme park. As Olivier and Madison search for Sabine, the family's circle of servants and supporters, knowingly or not, pulls the couple apart. Paul, a museum curator, has an unrequited passion for Madison; Anna, the English nanny, consummates Olivier's passion for her at the H tel Select; and Madame Canovas, the nosy concierge, keeps the gossip circulating. Muir's book is filled with sensations, insights and barbs ("She was exquisitely polite but rather formal, with the reserved expression of the recently Botoxed") and is enriched by perceptions about culture, politics and the doomed love affair between America and France.