When her mother dies after an expensive illness and a lifetime of bad choices, tentative but tenacious young Jackie is left with a mound of debt. One glimmer of hope: a stamp collection, potentially valuable, is among her assets. Philip, the brusque and arrogant stamp dealer to whom she takes the collection, won’t even take a look without his $2000 fee. Charming Dennis, a former stamp collector and small-time grifter down on his luck, who just happens to be hanging out in Philip’s shop, is only too willing to look at Jackie’s collection. Discovering two Mauritius “Post Office” stamps, the “crown jewel of philately”, in the old album, he is overjoyed. Dennis assumes that unassuming Jackie will be easy to scam, and contacts Sterling, an incredibly rich and remorselessly violent “international businessman” who is an obsessive stamp fancier, promising him an easy purchase. Meanwhile Jackie, whose secret well of rage and resourcefulness makes her no-one’s “lamb”, runs into obstacles of her own: her educated, refined, estranged, much older half-sister, Mary, claims the stamp collection as her own -- an inheritance from her paternal grandfather -- and refuses to sell, citing it’s inherent spiritual and cultural value. Will Jackie change her luck and her life? Will Dennis let his increasing interest in Jackie interfere with his trickster persona? Will Philip’s ancient grudge against Sterling play a role? Theresa Rebeck’s Mauritius is a tightly paced, surprising comedic thriller, a look at a seedy and rarified world of philatelic subterfuge, with a dark center of family pain.
Mauritius guide sections