When free-lance writer Charlotte Sams's cousin's husband Phil, an expert on Chinese art, announces that the jade necklace on exhibit in the Columbus Museum of Art's just-mounted display of treasures from the Imperial Court is a fake, and he's soon dead in a rhododendron bush, Charlotte and her psychologist chum Lou turn to snooping. The usual battery of suspects are trotted out--the museum director; the insurance underwriter; the corporate sponsor; the wealthy collector; the abused wife; her lover--and Charlotte receives a threatening call before she and Lou decide to set a trap for the villain, which results in Lou almost being pitched over a balcony while Charlotte provides a flying tackle rescue. A bumpy debut--no one behaves plausibly; the plot creaks and groans as it meanders from one mystery clichÇ to another; and the writing is flat and uninteresting. The only lively moments come when the dialogue focuses on Charlotte's son. A sequel is in the works.