Lia Frank, 32, is an appraiser of fine Chinese porcelain. When word of a potentially big sale quietly reaches her employer, she flies to Beijing to examine what could be a multimillion dollar collection of imperial ceramics. At the same time, an up and coming "ah chan" (Chinese smuggler of real and fake art) named Bai is scheming to get the huge shipment safely over the border to Hong Kong, on its way to the ultimate buyer in Oregon. While on the job, Lia meets Michael Doyle, a divorced biochemist who has been studying the health effects of air pollution on children in Beijing. When political and airline problems prevent other experts from joining Lia on the job, she has to call on all her training and instincts to separate the real from the counterfeit, as well as decide whether Michael might be a suitable romantic gamble. In this "genteel thriller," Mones weaves in a back story about how this portion of the imperial collection wended its way from the emperor's court in the 1920s to a sale lot in the new millennium, as well as offering the reader a light primer on Chinese porcelain art and the culture of art smugglers.
This report prepared by David Loftus