O Sacred Head
A late winter snow paralyzes the city. Fred Taylor answers an emergency police summons to identify a seventeenth-century painting of Christ in agony. ... Show synopsis A late winter snow paralyzes the city. Fred Taylor answers an emergency police summons to identify a seventeenth-century painting of Christ in agony. The painting highlights a murder scene - a decapitated John Doe found crucified in a Charles River luxury condo, upriver from Harvard. Meanwhile, Fred's employer, the collector Clayton Reed, has been offered the opportunity to buy a number of Old Master paintings from a collection whose provenance becomes increasingly mysterious, tantalizing, and tainted with violence. The lust for acquiring this art threatens to engulf Clay, who seems equally enamored of the seductive agent through whom it is offered. Fred - ably assisted by his lover, Molly Riley - must grapple with issues concerning authenticity, Italian painting of the Baroque era, and the murder of an art dealer on parole, as well as with the question of whether a fake painting can be responsible for miracles. Fred's maneuvering to gain a clear understanding of the fabulous collection leads him in pursuit of the identities both of the headless corpse and of the killer.