Iain Pears: The Immaculate Deception

For newlywed and Italian Art Theft Squad head Flavia di Stefano, the honeymoon is over when a painting, borrowed from the Louvre and en route to a celebratory exhibition, is stolen. Desperate to avoid public embarrassment - and to avoid paying a ransom - the Italian prime minister leans hard on Flavia to get it back quickly and quietly. Across town her husband, art historian Jonathan Argyll, begins an investigation of his own tracing the past of a small Renaissance painting - an Immaculate Conception - owned by Flavia's mentor, retired General Taddeo Bottando. Soon both husband and wife uncover astonishing and chilling secrets, and Flavia's investigation takes a sudden turn from the search for an art thief to the hunt for a murderer.