After a somewhat long and, at times, strange courtship, Claire Malloy — a single, widowed mother of a teenage daughter and a bookseller in Farberville, Arkansas - has finally said 'I do' to her swain, Lt. Peter Rosen of the Farberville Police Department. Now they are on their honeymoon in Luxor, Egypt. Well, Claire is on her honeymoon - accompanied by Caron, her teenaged daughter, and Inez, Caron's best friend and frequent partner in adventure. Peter is mostly away on various mysterious consultations with equally mysterious government agencies is his new, completely undiscussed, role in law enforcement.
Staying at the glamorous Winter Palace in Luxor, Claire is intent on a quiet, uneventful honeymoon involving shopping, tourist sites, and, when it can't avoided, drinks with the local British expatriate contingent. But despite her determined efforts to avoid any involvement in criminous events, the tenor of the trip quickly switches from bucolic to creepy. First, Caron and Inez are chased through darkened deserted alleys by persons unknown. Then a blond college student of their recent acquaintance is kidnapped by two young men on horseback in a scene reminiscent of a Rudolf Valentino film. Something is clearly afoot in this tourist paradise, and now Claire will stop at nothing to find out what.