The Seven Fires of Mademoiselle, By Esther Vilar

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This sparky debut concerns the pyrotechnic crimes of a stunningly beautiful French au pair girl working in a diplomatic family in 1960s Washington.

Despite being courted by the friends and acquaintances of her Argentinian hosts, "Mademoiselle" doesn't show the least bit of interest in the opposite sex until the day the family's homemade Christmas tree decorations catch fire, and firefighter Nick Kowlaski arrives on the scene.

As she tells her partner in crime, her 12-year-old charge, Carlota, the short, balding fire chief is a " real man". A genuinely enjoyable comic caper.