Nicholas Kilmer, formerly dean of the Swain School of Design in New Bedford, Massachusetts, presently makes his living in the art business. A Butterfly in Flame is the seventh of his Fred Taylor art mysteries.
The young woman in the hair salon raises her shirt to show a friend a work in progressa riot of stunning tattoos. From the barbers chair, Fred Taylor knows that those imagesweird insects, beasts, and naked human figurescould only come from something amazing: a hitherto unknown painting of rare and significant value. And the girls dont have a clue.
Fred knows such a painting needs to be found. His inquiries lead him from the salon to the illegal tattoo parlor of an unlicensed genius. Everyone who must have seen the painting denies that it exists, despite the vivid proof increasingly laid bare on the canvas of the hairdressers skin.
Freds employer, the collector Clayton Reed, is out of the country. So Fred, left to his own devices, is free to follow the trail, despite the distractions presented by the intriguing librarian Molly Riley.
Fred must proceed with caution. Then he encounters the first serious bump in the road: a suspiciously convenient hit-and-run that brings one potential informant to an abrupt dead end. A must-read for all Michael Connelly fansread it to see why.