A “cozy” post-World War II mystery about a museum heist, a missing child, a murder, and the partnership of a recent ex-con and an even more recent widow.
In Hartford, Connecticut, 1949, Juliet Van Allen, a museum administrator, returns home from work early to find her artist husband having an affair with another woman. Juliet slips unseen back to her office, where she meets an intruder. Elmer Vartanian, recently released from prison for a museum robbery, is coerced into helping scout the museum for a heist by a gang that has kidnapped his daughter. Since Juliet left her apartment, her husband has been murdered. She is the prime suspect, and Elmer is her only alibi.
Juliet, the rebellious only daughter of a wealthy financier, and Elmer, a lower-class ex-convict who has educated himself in prison, learn to rely on each other. Juliet is Elmer’s guide to a post-world that has changed so much since he entered prison. He feels guilty for having missed his daughter’s childhood, for being safe when friends were killed in World War II, and is bewildered over atomic energy, Modern Art, ballpoint pens, and frozen orange juice concentrate.
Juliet is not sure she believes Elmer’s story. Elmer is not sure she didn’t kill her husband. They are compelled to work together, dogged by the scandal-monger newsman, the shrewd police detective, and scrutinized by the even more judgmental eye of Hartford’s elite in world where Modern Art meets old-fashioned murder.