When English art historian Jonathan Argyll is caught breaking into a church in Rome, he has an astonishing story to tell. He claims that the church contains a genuine Raphael, hidden under a painting by Mantini. Further investigation reveals that the painting has disappeared...to reappear later in the hands of top English art dealer, Edward Byrnes. Soon Byrnes is able to unveil the Raphael before an amazed world. But how has he found out about the hidden masterpiece? And there is also the curious matter of the forger whose safety deposit box contains highly suspicious sketches. Then a hideous act of vandalism is perpetrated. Murder is to follow...and General Bottando of Italy's Art Theft Squad faces the most critical challenge of his whole career.