Lily, a queen of style in retro clothes, and Robbie, her boyfriend, run a second-hand bookshop in Sydney. In a shipment of old books from Nairobi, Robbie discovers a rare French book of ancient Roman erotica. With only four copies in existence, and valued at twenty million dollars, he is determined to sell it despite Lily's suggestion that they return it to the Italian government.
Days later, William, a dashing Russian employed by a fine arts firm in London to retrieve stolen art works, arrives at the shop. Robbie refuses to hand over the book, and disappears, taking his and Lily's life savings with him.
What follows is a funny, witty romantic comedy that takes readers from Sydney to Rome, in a whirlwind of pretty dresses (on Lily), daring actions (by William) and clever dialogue.