Summer in London-the sun is finally shining, the flowers are in bloom, and life is humming merrily along for book editor Samantha Clair, off to lunch with her old friend, art-dealer Aidan Merriam. Humming merrily until she learns that his partner has just been found dead in their gallery, slumped over his desk with a gun in his hand. Could anything be worse? Oh yes, the police investigation is being led by Inspector Jake Field, who just happens to be Sam's new boyfriend. And Aidan, who just happens to be Sam's ex-boyfriend, wants Sam's help. Finding herself drawn into another investigation, Sam does the only sensible thing and calls her mother. Before long, Sam finds her loyalties stretched to the limit as she herself is threatened.
Armed with nothing more than her trusty weapons of satire, cynicism and a stock of irrelevant information culled from novels, Sam races to find a killer who is determined to find her first in the newest fast-paced, uproarious novel in the critically acclaimed series from New York Times bestselling author Judith Flanders.
Art and money are the linchpins of Flanders's enjoyable follow-up to 2015's A Murder of Magpies. At lunch at a London restaurant with old friend Aidan Merriam, sardonic book editor Samantha "Sam" Clair learns that Frank Compton, Aidan's partner in the gallery Merriam-Compton, has committed suicide and her boyfriend, Det. Insp. Jake Field, is investigating. Soon questions swirl around the nature of Compton's death, the business affairs of the gallery, and the upcoming exhibition on the late artist Edward Stevenson, although Sam is preoccupied by her upcoming panel on subsidized efforts in publishing that will include reproductions of Stevenson's work. Encounters with relatives and associates of Compton and Stevenson provide no further clarity to Sam, and an attempt to run her off the road has both Sam and Jake wondering about Sam's potential threat to those involved in the case. The finer points of book design, the navigation of Sam and Jake's relationship, and a tense climax featuring archival shelving units add texture to the narrative.