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Seb Rolvenden is a writer who lives in a lighthouse in Essex. On his grandfather’s death he comes into some papers which reveal that Seb’s grandfather, when young, was involved in the sensational disappearance in London of Julian Warbeck, an impressionist painter, and his masterpiece, Ruffian on the Stair.

Seeing a book in this, Seb goes off in pursuit of a trail of clues left in his grandfather’s papers, unwittingly alerting others who are also after the lost masterpiece. His enquiries lead him to Jersey and to France, where among Seb’s discoveries is the grave of the Vickybird, a vicious Victorian rentboy and artist’s model whom his grandfather had known in London in the 1890s and who may have been the actual murderer of Julian Rawbeck.

As the mystery deepens a chance encounter leads Seb to the whereabouts of the missing masterpiece – but the painting has one further explosive secret to reveal to him.

Praise for Gary Newman’s Previous Novels

‘In what turns out to be an intriguing case of murder and romance, the author brings London’s East End and India under the Raj vividly to life’ Publishers Weekly

‘The author succeeds admirably in recreating Victorian London, both in character and setting. Fans of Anne Perry and other Victorian mysteries will enjoy.’ Library Journal

‘A most satisfying gothic detective tale’ Booklist