This is the second of Pears' art mystery series starring the clever government investigator, Flavia di Stefano of the Italian National Art Theft Squad, and British art historian/dealer Jonathan Argyll. When Louise Masterson, an American member of an international committee working on cataloguing the complete works of Renaissance Venetian painter Titian is found stabbed to death in Venice, Flavia is sent there as political window dressing on the investigation: she's not supposed to get in the way of the local police and merely rubber stamp their findings. (They're sure it was a robbery killing.)
Once in Venice, she runs into Jonathan, the British art student she met in The Raphael Affair, who is now buying art for the dealer Sir Edward Byrnes. It turns out one of the minor paintings Jonathan was trying to purchase from a local Marchesa had excited the interest of the victim, Ms. Masterson. Then another member of the committee, Professor Roberts, is found drowned in a Venice canal, and things the situation gets more complicated. Flavia and Jonathan will follow the clues to Milan, Padua, and even rural southeast France where they'll find a third body.
This report prepared by David Loftus