It's 1903 and Petronella's Uncle Augustus has just accidentally swallowed a large beetle. Apparently as a result, he's taken to eating nothing but insects--and spiders, and slugs, and earthworms. Petronella is concerned for her uncle, and just as worried about how people will react. Eating bugs is simply not done. But during her coming-out party, any scandal Uncle Augustus may have incited is eclipsed by the kidnapping of Generalissimo Alejandro Reyes-Cardoza of Panama and Dame Carruthers. The only clue is a ransom note with a rare butterfly pinned to it.
The story is cute and very slight, with not a whole lot of action and essentially no tension. It's amusing, though, and peopled with eccentric characters. It's also an extremely fast read. Every time I lost interest and was tempted to put the book down and wander off, I would remind myself how fast a read it is. If it wasn't such a chilly day--which means I've spent a few hours wrapped up warmly and drinking tea--I don't know that I would have been interested enough to finish the book.
Still, there's nothing about it that I disliked. Younger kids would probably find it a lot of fun.