Cambridge art expert Fred Taylor, consultant to a rich and omnivorous Beacon Hill collector, is disturbed by discovering that the harmless old gent who'd been haunting Fred's strong-minded lover, librarian Molly Riley, lies dead on the banks of the Charles. Soon Fred's distracted by a second find, a fragment of a painting. It lies in antique dealer Oona Imry's shop. Fred feels in his gut that the piece of canvas, handsomely portraying a squirrel at a man's feet, might be by John Singleton Copley. His boss, Clayton Reed, charms Oona into selling him the squirrel, then sends legman Fred out to look for the rest of the painting. A new fragment shortly arrives from the hands of Oona 's nephew, gratis, after Oona dies under a train. Are the canvases tied to her murder and that of Molly's stalker? Is Fred on some kind of killer treasure hunt? Art dealer and painter Kilmer delights in mirroring contemporary crimes with well-researched and compelling use of history. Erudite and witty, he keeps the reader's unflagging interest through a combination of clever puzzle construction and deft narrative understatement.
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