Doug Pearce, of Pottsville, Pennsylvania, leaves his small
town at the request of Edna, an exotic older woman who knew his black-sheep uncle, Russell Pearce. It seems that Russell was murdered in 1948, apparently while trying to smuggle an outrageously big red diamond out of Singapore. Beginning in Casablanca and continuing through Morocco and Egypt, Doug eventually lands in Singapore, where his uncle's life ended. Along the way, he meets a stately museum curator and a stunning heiress, among other exotic characters.
This book has it all. Doug is a wonderful naïve-but-not protagonist, fabulous sense of place, great characters, wonderful dialogue that at time had me laughing aloud, and an ending that definitely makes you want to go along with Doug on his next adventure. A contender for my annual top 10 list, I loved this book!