English art scholar Jonathan Argyll was amazed to find himself arrested for vagrancy - while searching for a long-lost Raphael in a tiny Roman church. Although General Bottando of the Italian National Art Theft Squad has little confidence in Jonathan's theories. Bottando's lovely assistant, Flavia di Stefano, is intrigued by the idea of a lost classic, and by Jonathan himself. But in the mids tof the painting's discovery and the resultant worldwide publicity, a new chain of events is set into action. First vandalism, then murder, surround the painting. And as new facts about its true nature emerge, Bottando sends Flavia and Jonathan to investigate - little knowing that the pair will be on the run for the truth....and for their lives.