General Bottando of Rome’s Art Theft Squad believes that a lone criminal mastermind—dubbed “Giotto”—has been stealing priceless Renaissance art for over thirty years. But his theory—prompted by a letter from an embittered, dying old woman—is scorned by archrival Corrado Argan, a bureaucrat more interested in politics than policing.
Bottando’s right hand, the beautiful Flavia di Stefano, quickly locates a possible culprit—but he’s in England. Since the conniving Argan considers even a trip across town an unnecessary expense for Bottando’s squad, Flavia must rely on her fiancé, Jonathan Argyll. In England on business, he finds the suspect suspiciously dead. That’s a pity—especially for Jonathan. Were he not on the scene—raving about art thefts and coincidences—the police may have ruled that the deceased had a few too many and tripped on a loose stair. Now, Jonathan’s passport has been lifted until Her Majesty’s magistrate is satisfied that he has told all he knows…
Iain Pears is the author of the bestsellers An Instance of the Fingerpost, The Dream of Scipio, Stone’s Fall, and Arcadia, and a novella, The Portrait, as well as a series of acclaimed detective novels, a book of art history, and countless articles on artistic, financial and… More about Iain Pears
“Pears has a whimsical take on the scruples of the art trade, on English food and plumbing and on Italian bureaucracy…A sweet, art world ‘cozy.’”—San Jose Mercury News
“Art, crime, and Italy mix well…Pears masterfully juggles his plot elements while providing delightful diversion in the contrasting manners of his English and Italian characters.”—Booklist
“Fine art, quirky characters and scenes set in Rome and an English country village add to the joys of Giotto’s Hand…A neat twist at the end is the cherry on this fudge sundae of a mystery.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune