In this book, a series of fires occur so near in time that Banks and Cabbot fear a serial arsonist may be to blame, but also realize that someone may be trying to make murder look like arson. The first fire takes place on two barges moored together and kills an artist on one and a young girl on the other. The second fire destroys a trailer along with the man inside. At first, they suspect the girl's boyfriend, but he has an alibi, and he accuses her stepfather whom he said had sexually abused her and got her hooked on drugs.
Eventually, their investigation shows that the artist and the second man killed had known each other at college, and they believe that an unknown third man was involved with them in passing off counterfeit paintings as the real thing. Annie Cabbot becomes romantically involved with Philip Keane, an art researcher who offers to assist them with the case. Banks is suspicious (although Annie accuses him of jealousy) and has Keane checked out, but can't really prove anything against him.
The pages had been initially painted with gray and a touch of purple, without any idea of what they would eventually be used for. Then when I was going through my Reading Journal looking for a background to use as the basis for this book review, I realized that it resembled ashes. So I overpainted with “Christmas Red” and “Tangerine” (Anita’s brand paints from Hobby Lobby), being sure to let some of the grayish background show through. When it was good and dry, I wrote the title with a black Pitt brush pen, extending the descenders on the Y & G, as well as pulling the crossbar of the T, and adding one to the final E. I was trying to create the feel of leaping flames, and to enhance that even more, I added extra strokes around the letters with orange and crimson Prismacolor pencils.