Published Jan 2010
Thomas Lynch is a libidinous aesthete and non-achieving art historian in disgrace for his sexual misdemeanours. It seems there is only one means of redemption – the opportunity to prove his theory of the existence of an uncatalogued Madonna by the great Renaissance master, Giovanni Bellini. Lynch’s obsessive search at last brings him to a run-down English country house, owned by the Roper family.
There, Lynch discovers a lost diary that puts him on the trail of the picture and immerses him in the lives, past and present of the Ropers themselves. The Ropers are intent on keeping Lynch prisoner for reasons of their own, and he soon finds himself caught up in a sexual cat-and-mouse game. Where can the Madonna be hidden? And what possible role might the enigmatic daughter of the house, Anna, have to play in solving the mystery of its whereabouts?
Soon it becomes clear that in life, as in art, nothing should be taken at face value.