Edward Maule, dealer in paintings and objects of art, is thrilled beyond belief when an important old master comes into his hands. It is thought to be a tteau. Not satisfied with the half-million the painting will bring without any difficulty at all, Maule begins an extensive search for just the ""right"" buyer. n so doing, however, there are some doubts uncovered about the authenticity of the il. Most intimately involved: an art expert who secretly does parodies in paint of the old masters, a homosexual Negro who wants his own gallery and will do anything to get it, a young couple fleeing from family domination, and three totally different millionaire collectors who view for the alleged Watteau...Baird's witty novel is a slow starter, but it takes off as the question of fraud arises and peels couple of layers off the world of art collection: its values, pretentions, and eviations.