An art mystery leads an academic to tangled family feuds and baffling deaths.
Bewildered by her breakup with her raffish boyfriend Joe, Dr. Reggie Lee dives full-tilt into her new assignment, an exhibition at London’s National Gallery of a small collection of Caravaggio masterpieces. She spots an unusual old news clipping that describes the hanging death of young Robert de Beaupré close on the heels of a high-profile Caravaggio theft from the Louvre, which houses one of the Caravaggios she seeks. Another is at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and the third she hopes to locate. Her trip to Paris unearths more mystery in the recent accidental death of Surrealist painter Antoine Rigaut, who may have been connected to Beaupré. This potential link takes Reggie all the way back to Beaupré’s notebooks from before World War I, and through complex political and familial dynamics of more recent decades. Despite an agreement to the contrary, Reggie also contacts Joe on a regular basis, giving the story and her character more dimension. The mystery deepens with the unexpected discovery of a missing Caravaggio. Is one of the paintings a forgery? And is Reggie paranoid, or is somebody following her?
Brandon’s background in art history (Surreal Lives, 1999, etc.) serves her well in her fiction debut, the first in a proposed series. Her refined prose matches the ornate plot, well-suited to a niche audience.