When an important, politically sensitive painting is kidnapped in Rome, Flavia di Stefano, acting head of the Italian Art Theft Squad, is told to get it back at all costs – without causing any embarrassment to the country and without paying the ransom. Put in an impossible position, she turns for help to her old mentor General Taddeo Bottando, who casts a wholly unexpected light on the crime.
In the meantime, her husband, English art historian Jonathan Argyll, embarks on an investigation of his own. As a gift to Bottando, he decides to establish the provenance of a small Renaissance painting, an Immaculate Conception, currently hanging on the wall of the general's apartment.
Absorbing and ingeniously plotted, The Immaculate Deception is both a fascinating art-history puzzle and a gripping murder mystery as the search for the truth uncovers shocking secrets from the past and leads Argyll and Flavia into the path of some very dangerous enemies indeed.