Henry Adamson is in his seventies, on his fifth wife and his sixth glass of cabernet. Sherry Adamson, pictured right, hasn't had much to drink so far. Which is surprising, because Sherry was no less alcoholic than her namesake and Henry would have thought she'd be more keen to celebrate during their honeymoon dinner.

Henry is wrong. Coincidentally, after the six overnight hours during which the arsenic will work, he will also be dead. At which point Sherry Adamson will remove her graying wig, crow's-feet stage makeup and once again become twenty-one-year-old Marie Whittaker, of no fixed address or name, but invested with copious amounts of cash and a very handsomely expensive diamond wedding ring.

Some four months later, interpretive-dance instructor Sarah Saunier, who bears an oddly striking resemblance to both Marie Whittaker and Sherry Adamson, will meet Andrew Gneiwek, an impossibly sweet and innocent Notre-Dame football player. He was immediately striken by the diamond on her hand, and Sarah allowed him to maintain for her a convenient half- fiction that she was a wealthy young widow who owns plenty of property. Andrew is both rich and good-looking enough that Sarah considers a possibility that seemed ridiculous during her cycle of rich, disappearing geriatrics – settling down. With her usual gift for subtlety, she waits for him to propose and lets him think it was his idea. He wants to elope, away from both their family and friends, and they get married in a pretty Venetian church, no one in attendance but the happy couple and a prodigiously aged Catholic priest. He then proposes a honeymoon in a remote Tuscan farmhouse, opens a bottle of wine, and Sarah Saunier is so striken by her good luck and lack of bad karma that, on her sixth glass and the room beginning to blur, she doesn't even notice the slightly weird taste of the wine….