Life in Bodega Bay on the rugged, foggy coast of northern California has been pretty quiet since Alfred Hitchcock filmed "The Birds "there. But antiques dealer Toby Sandler learns that his new business partner Charlie has been found dead on an abandoned boat in the harbor. When the local sheriff discovers that Charlie's newly acquired Hitchcock artifacts and a painting of an angel are missing, he enlists Toby and his wife, Nora Barnes, an art historian, in the investigation. Local tales about Hitchcock's famous film, and some digging into the region's past as a Russian outpost, provide Toby and Nora with clues to the existence of a lost masterpiece. Convinced that this forgotten work may hold the key to the murder, Nora and Toby set out to find it. When Nora's trouble-prone sister Angie arrives, events take a surprising turn, leading to the uncanny realm of angel reading and putting Nora and her family in danger. As Nora and Toby investigate matters both criminal and otherworldly, Nora realizes that some mysteries in life may be too deep to solve. "
When art historian Nora Barnes returns to France for a Van Gogh conference in the charming medieval village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence, she's expecting a vigorous debate about whether the famed artist's suicide was actually a homicide. But on the night before the conference, an elderly French woman who'd promised to reveal important evidence is found head down in the village fountain, and her Chanel briefcase is nowhere to be seen.<P><P> During a week of academic squabbling, dining, romance, and suspense, the quirky conference members, one by one, fall under police suspicion and the amused gaze of Nora's husband, Toby. But someone wants to halt Nora and Toby's amateur sleuthing, and what happens next is no joke.
The cave of Lascaux may be closed to the public, but five scholars a day are allowed inside, and Nora Barnes has finagled an appointment. True, she may have fudged a bit in her letter to the authorities, but she does teach art history, and she isn't about to miss her chance to see the world's most famous prehistoric paintings. Nora and her high-spirited husband, Toby, are visiting the Dordogne, in the southern French region of the Aquitaine. Aware that the Dordogne's renown for cave art is matched only by its reputation for delicious cuisine, the couple has also signed up for a cooking class at a nearby château, but they soon find that more than food is on their minds. During their tour of the cave, another visitor is murdered. When the local inspector pegs Nora and Toby as suspects, they embark on a mission to solve the crime, tracing strange links between a Cro-Magnon symbol and a thirteenth-century religious cult. As they match wits with the crusty inspector, Nora finds herself immersed in the notebooks of a forgotten artist who once lived in the château. In sifting through the artist's papers and uncovering old secrets, she begins to piece together the motives for the murder. But has she cooked up more trouble than she can handle?
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