The tale unfolds in New York, where Anna Petrescu is missing, presumed dead, after 9/11. She uses her new status to escape from America, only to be pursued across the world from Toronto to London, to Hong Kong, Tokyo and Bucharest as she tries to find answers to the following questions:
• Why was an aristocratic old lady brutally murdered in her English country home the night before 9/11?
• Why was a successful New York banker not surprised to receive a woman’s left ear in the morning post?
• Why did a top Manhattan lawyer only work for one client, but never charge a fee?
• Why was an Olympic gymnast paid a million dollars an assignment, when she didn’t have a bank account?
• Why was an Honours graduate working as a temporary secretary after inheriting a fortune?
• Why was an English Countess ready to kill the banker, the lawyer, and the gymnast, even if it meant spending the rest of her life in jail?
• Why was a Japanese steel magnate happy to hand over $50,000,000 to a woman he had only met once?
• Why was a senior FBI agent trying to work out what the connection was between these eight apparently innocent individuals?
It will take all the resources of the FBI and Interpol to work out the connection between this seemingly disparate cast of characters. The one thing they all have in common is Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with a Bandaged Ear.