Policemen Harpur and Iles get mixed up in the criminal world of fine art dealing
Detective Chief Superintendent Colin Harpur feels a sort of warmth towards Jack Lamb, a brilliantly prosperous but profoundly dodgy fine arts dealer. Lamb is the greatest informant Harpur has ever dealt with — might be the greatest informant any police officer has ever dealt with — and although Jack ended this arrangement some time ago, Harpur still feels indebted to him.
Lamb’s posh manor house is stuffed with expensive paintings, ripe for the pinching . . . and small-time thief George Dinnick and his crew intend to relieve him of a few. But their plans are complicated by local big-time crook Ralph Ember, who is on the lookout for some art to elevate his gentleman’s club, The Monty; and who else would he visit to procure this art but Jack Lamb? Add to the mix odd-job man and stolen-art procurer Basil Gordon Loam — aka Enzyme — who Harpur and Iles would very much like to see locked up, and things start to get complicated indeed.