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.