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Giotto's Hand by Iain Pears

Book cover for Giotto's Hand
Book cover for Giotto's Hand
General Bottando of Rome's Art Theft Squad believes that a lone criminal mastermind - dubbed "Giotto" - has been stealing priceless Renaissance art for over thirty years. But his theory - prompted by a letter from an embittered, dying old woman - is scorned by archrival Corrado Argan, a bureaucrat more interested in politics than policing. Bottando's right hand, the beautiful Flavia di Stefano, quickly locates a possible culprit - but he's in England. Since the conniving Argan considers even a trip across town an unnecessary expense for Bottando's squad, Flavia must rely on her fiancé, Jonathan Argyll. In England on business, he finds the suspect suspiciously dead. That's a pity - especially for Jonathan. Were he not on the scene - raving about art thefts and coincidences - the police may have ruled that the deceased had a few too many and tripped on a loose stair. Now, Jonathan's passport has been lifted until Her Majesty's magistrate is satisfied that he has told all he knows...