Amos Hatcher, investigator for the International Association of Art Dealers, is summoned to the auction-house offices of Sake Sloane--an eccentric old chum who's bubbling over with excitement about a forthcoming sale: five Flemish masterpieces, smuggled over from Italy. A day later, however, Jake is brutally murdered. So Hatcher, determined to avenge his friend's death, jets over to Rome--where art-thefts have escalated lately, expanding in expertise as well as quantity; those Flemish paintings, for instance, seem to have been lifted from the Museo Procacci. . . with no one noticing! The local authorities don't want Hatcher's help, of course. Nonetheless, he sleuths on, rather talkily--hearing about the terrorist involvement in art thievery, becoming convinced that the heist-ringleader murdered Jake Sloane. Furthermore, Hatcher comes to believe that this terrorist-ringleader is someone with a special interest in the painter Caravaggio (bisexual rebel, populist hero)--a correct deduction which leads to the exposure of the terrorist's secret ally. . . and to a series of dangerous confrontations in bedrooms, churches, and ruins. Less active and suspenseful than The Rembrandt Panel, but the leisurely chatter--on art-history, Italian bureaucracy, food, tourism--is bright, amusing, often informative.