July 16th, 1942
André Dumont is a collaborationist who has made a fortune buying art and valuables from Jews who sell their collections and heirlooms at ridiculously low prices in order to quickly obtain money as they attempt to escape from Europe. Dumont has befriended the Schwartzmanns so he can evaluate their art collection. He not only becomes a “friend of the family,” but he becomes the lover of the Schwartzmanns’ eldest daughter, Anna.
André Dumont, using his influence and friends in the Nazi hierarchy in Paris, manages to get the Schwartzmann family listed for deportation. He wants to rid himself of any person who can claim the art he plans to have “confiscated” from the Schwartzmanns. The Schwartzmanns are arrested, but Anna, who has been living with Dumont, escapes the round-up. Dumont denounces his lover to the Nazis in order to rid himself of the last person who may lay claim to the Schwartzmann collection.
After her mother dies, Mimi is putting away her mother’s things and she discovers that the woman who she thought was her grandmother was not her biological grandmother. Her real grandmother’s name was Anna, someone who, along with all of her family, died in the Nazi death camps. She comes to know all of this through Anna’s diary. In it, she finds out that her family’s art collection was stolen and she decides to embark on a quest to recover it.
In Paris, Edouard Dumont, son of André Dumont, is the French Minister of Culture. He desperately needs money to finance his political career and save the financially struggling family business, a huge art gallery and auction house, from bankruptcy. He wants to sell the art his father left him, art stolen from the Jews.
Edouard Dumont’s and Mimi’s destinies are about to cross as part of her plan to find out what happened to her family’s art collection, Mimi gets a job at Edouard Dumont’s art auction business. While working there, Mimi discovers that some of the art that will be sold at auction has very shady provenance. Could this be part of her family’s collection?
Enter Guillermo Lombardo, a retired police inspector, who rents Mimi’s Paris apartment for a week and finds himself romantically entangled with the woman.
Things soon take a turn for the worst for Lombardo. Upon his arrival in Brittany to see friends, a policeman shows up to question Lombardo. It seems Mimi has been reported missing and Mimi’s friend, Sophie, has been found strangled in her own apartment.
As Lombardo was the last person to see Mimi before she disappeared, the police consider him a suspect in Mimi’s disappearance. To clear his name, Lombardo must find his missing lover, and stay one step ahead of a vicious killer.
About Author Rodolfo Peña:
Peña was born in Mexico, grew up in the United States, and has lived in a dozen different cities and half a dozen countries throughout his life. He now lives in the south of France with his wife Claudette. His other works with Untreed Reads include the first Guillermo Lombardo mystery An Inconsequential Murder and the short story Venus of the Metro.
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