In Nicholas Kilmer's squel to Harmony in Flesh and Black, the debut of his mystery series set in the Boston art world, we're reacquainted with the passionate noncollector Fred Taylor. Fred, prowling the antique and jumble shops of Boston's Charles Street, enters one of his own haunts--Oona's--which is run by an unflappable, seen-it-all proprietress as honest about her wares as she is ruthless in her pricing and secretive about acquisitions. Ooona offers Fred a painting, the image of a common gray squirrel on a chain, which he discovers has been cut from a larger canvas.
Believing it to be the work of an important eighteenth-century American master, he snaps up the fragment for his employer, the eccentric Beacon Hill art collector Clayton Reed. Then he sets out to find the remainder of the painting and its origins.
Fred's quest, with assistance from his lover, Molly Riley, crosses and ultimately blocks the path of Dr. Eunice Cover-Hoover, whose specialty is deprogramming former members of satanic cults. Molly, pursuing her own agenda, becomes entangled with this adept psychologist--and, shortly, murder, mayhem, and other forms of vandalism join the violence already done to the painting.
Kilmer's story bursts with a sophisticated and sardonic wit and a thorough knowledge of the art world: its glories, romances, accidents, and dangers.