Feckless British art expert Jonathan Argyll (The Titian Committee, 1993) should have known it was all too easy when the Arthur M. Moresby Museum's agent, James Langton, popped up out of the blue to buy the Titian whose sale Jonathan was hoping to broker. No sooner has Jonathan arrived in Los Angeles to observe the museum staff's authentication, though, than things go horribly awry. Arthur M. Moresby II is shot dead in his own museum, his killer defeating the state-of-the-art security system by plastering a pÉtÇ sandwich over a crucial camera lens; Moresby's death leaves the museum $3 billion poorer, imperiling the Titian sale for good; and Jonathan's old acquaintance Hector di Souza, a not-quite- reputable dealer who's gone missing along with a Bernini bust he smuggled out of Italy for Moresby, turns up as dead as marble. Fortunately, reports about the smuggled Bernini, together with an attempt on Jonathan's life, bring Flavia di Stefano, his hopeless love from Rome's national art theft squad, on the run to L.A., where she'll fish up a truly staggering number of red herrings from a net of ``tax fiddles, murder, fraud, adultery, theft, framing each other for crimes, eavesdropping, firing people.'' All in all, the cleverest entry yet in this deliciously literate series.