An art conservator heads back to Florence, to solve the mystery of a painting and a crime that still haunts her
In 1966, when Florence’s Arno River unleashed its worst flood in four hundred years, killing people and destroying much of the city, the teenage Kate Holland felt compelled to act. She became one of the “angels of the flood,” helping to restore Florence, and in the process she fell in love with the city—as well as with David, one of her fellow volunteers. She also forged a transformative friendship with a local girl, Francesca. But a shattering accident left Francesca dead and forced Kate to return to England. Now a successful art conservator, Kate is plunged back into her Florentine past. David turns up at one of her lectures, and she confides to him that an anonymous dealer has been sending her some unsettling paintings. The works have been altered in ways that suggest a message for Kate specifically. For instance, a female figure is overpainted with blood that echoes Francesca’s fatal injury. Determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, Kate and David set off for Italy. Francesca’s family had dark secrets, and their power lingers. Are the signals in the paintings a trap, or a cry for help?