Markham seemed to have everything—except perhaps a loving wife. His elegant home in Santa Fe housed contemporary art, and he’d just inherited his father’s European collection. But that’s when the trouble started. While working with the paintings, Helen, an art historian from the university, was shot and killed; later a painting was stolen; and then an Italian concert pianist staying at the house died in a bizarre piano explosion.
Professor Candrew Nor, Helen’s colleague, gets embroiled and from crime scene details concludes that the killer was quite short. Suspicion falls on the Hispanic handyman. But Markham’s estranged brother had been left out of the fathers will and several other people have reasons for murder. Candrew meets the maid Zona, a sixties holdover, and then at Helen’s funeral is introduced to Professor LaBarre, her mentor from Yale. Both have roles that are not at first clear and it takes Candrew’s logic and scientific skills to pin down the murderers.