When college student Brad Putnam turns up dead in his bedroom in his Boston apartment, Homicide Detective Timothy Quinn is baffled by the crime scene and decides to seek the help of art history professor Sweeney St. George to make sense of the evidence. An expert on "the art of death," Sweeney immediately identifies the objects found on the body as mourning jewelry-and discovers that she knew the victim. Brad Putnam was taking her class on that very subject.
Sweeney is shocked by Brad's death, and determined to help Detective Quinn unravel the mystery of Brad's death. They soon discover this is not the first tragedy to strike the Putnams, a prominent Boston family. Peter Putnam, Brad's brother, died in a terrible car accident years earlier. But the cause of the accident was never discovered, as the Putnam family covered up what happened and refused to cooperate with the police.
Detective Quinn warns Sweeney not to get too involved in the Brad Putnam investigation but as she gets closer to the Putnam family, she becomes even more determined than ever to find out what happened. Haunted by secrets in her own past, Sweeney dissects the family's history and begins to realize that she may uncover secrets that were never meant to surface.
Sarah Stewart Taylor's intricate and engaging follow-up to her acclaimed Agatha Award finalist debut, O'Artful Death, is an absorbing and suspenseful novel about love and family, secrets and lies-and murder.