Dr. Kristian Beck is known to be a man selflessly dedicated to the healing arts, so why is he being accused of murdering his very beautiful wife? Granted it was whispered that they lived separate lives, and she was so exquisite that men of all sorts were drawn to her side. To murder one’s wife in the throes of jealousy is considered a crime of passion, and the punishment for that might be less than for a straight-out, cold-blooded killing. As the woman featured in the haunting painting, A Funeral in Blue, Elissa Beck could have excited that kind of emotion.
But then there is the other murder victim to consider. An artist’s model, pretty Sarah Mackeson had been born into a hard life just as Mrs. Beck had enjoyed a privileged one. Yet different as their fortunes were, they shared the murder scene between them—an artist’s studio in the dead of night. Surely one was the intended victim, and the other was a victim of circumstance. For private investigator William Monk and his wife Hester, time is running out to discover who killed both women and why.
Dr. Beck adamantly denies murdering the pair, but he is not telling all he knows. The trail leads Monk from Victoria’s London to Vienna, capital of the Austrian Empire, in search of Dr. Beck’s past, whilst Hester consoles her friend Callandra, who nurtures a secret love for Dr. Beck and must watch as he stands trial for murder. Kristian Beck’s own secrets—and no less those of his dead wife—intertwine to illuminate both their true natures and the reason why the floor of portrait artist Argo Allardyce's studio was stippled with blood.