Sydney’s Observatory on a balmy summer evening is the perfect venue for a cocktail party and, it would seem, a murder, for Peter Van Goren’s body is discovered bludgeoned to death in the grounds. The first question Detective Chief Inspector Fitzjohn must answer is why Van Goren was present given his name does not appear on the guest list. The second is what was the subject of Van Goren’s vehement argument with Richard Carmichael, one of the function’s hosts.
An enthusiastic crowd gathered at Lyrebird Lodge in the Blue Mountains on that crisp autumn morning, all anxious to acquire one of Florence Fontaine’s much sought after paintings. However, the only art on one visitor’s mind is the art of murder. Detective Chief Inspector Fitzjohn, unwittingly drawn into the case, launches his investigation that reveals a web of past and present jealousy, deceit and revenge, at a time when his own life is unravelling before his eyes.