Mathes once again explores, though peripherally, the world of art and antiques (The Girl at the End of the Line, 1999, etc.). His heroine this time is Jane Sailor, whose highly specialized profession is choreographing combat and fight scenes for dramatic productions. Her father, Aaron, a painter, has been hospitalized in a coma for the past eight years after a fall down the stairs of his Soho studio. Now he's begun to speak, repeatedly saying the name "Perry." Determined to identify Perry, Jane finally finds the telltale clue among the possessions of her father's stored in the basement of the brownstone where she rents an apartment. Peregrine Mannerback, her quarry, is an eccentric millionaire, a collector of clocks, and the owner of a large Aaron Sailor painting, purchased years before at the gallery run (along with her henpecked physician husband) by greedy, aggressive Elinore King. Hiring Jane as an assistant/bodyguard, Perry arranges for her father to get elaborate testing at Manhattan's most expensive hospital, where he dies, not of natural causes. A break-in while she's attending Aaron's funeral eventually sends Jane to England, exploring family roots that may point to her father's murderer. But it's not until she returns to New York that she faces the killer—along with a near-inescapable threat to her own life.
Too many twists, turns, and unbelievable confrontations are offset by a generous complement of lively, convincing characters, especially Jane. Overall, an entertaining outing that promises a lot of fun.