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When the aging Nashville artist Bechman Warren Fitzwallington is discovered dead in his own bed, the question for detective Hardy Seltzer is simple: natural causes, or murder? Clues are scant, and an autopsy finds no signs of homicide, but no one is grieving. The number of strangely-acting suspects seems to be multiplying as rapidly as the artist’s florid late canvases.
Galleries in Nashville and New York are quickly fighting for the rights to sell any paintings that Fitzwallington left behind. But the dearly beloved himself was just as fervently hated by everyone who knew him, including his extensively tattooed daughter, who stands to inherit a fortune.
Hardy has avoided involving his friend, former detective Shane Hadley, in his cases since the Bonz Begley murder. But now a national spotlight is shining on him, and he needs help. At the same time, Dr. Katya Karpov, Hadley’s brilliant neurologist wife, is directing a 20-year study of the aging brain. To her dismay, the confidential data in her possession turn out to reveal unsuspected relationships that will only complicate the mystery that her husband has been drawn into.
Hadley and Seltzer risk the ire of the city fathers, the police department, the medical establishment, and even organized crime to solve the last riddle of Bechman Fitzwallington. The solution that slowly comes into focus may mean that justice can never be done.