A discovery in his mother’s attic leads a painter into the dark world of underground art dealings
Since childhood, Ben Contini has been enchanted by nudes. The first painting ever to move him was a Modigliani, a portrait of a naked and beautiful reclining woman. Though it scandalized his mother at the time, it inspired him to become an artist; he specializes in portraits but paints nudes whenever he can. Only when his mother dies does Ben realize why Modigliani upset her so much: She had one hidden in her attic. It is the most beautiful painting he has ever seen, but he has no idea how the widow of an Italian refugee could have come upon it. With the help of a mysterious Austrian woman who appears at his mother’s funeral, Ben discovers the painting’s connection to the art thieves of Nazi Germany. The beautiful nude has made a strange journey to the Contini attic, and there are men who would kill to cover her up.