Publishing year: 2014
The book starts in the Windward Islands in 1956.
We are introduced to Lilli, a seven-year-old girl, who lives with her widowed father, Otto Brandt. The family are quite wealthy. Otto owns a villa which is full of pieces of art. Lilli is particular keen on a triptych which depicts scenes on the life of Joan of Arc. Otto is quite particular about his daughter and doesn’t like her to hang out with Josie, the daughter of one of the maids. The last scene between Lilli and her father shows that her father is afraid something might happen to him, and he wants to make sure that Lilli has been provided for, and in that specific moment as a gesture of what he means, Otto decides that the triptych now belongs to the little girl.
The story moves forward in time. It is 1971, twenty-two years later, and in Bristol we meet Guy de Savigny, a young commercial pilot who is half English half French. We know that he’s to inherit the title of baron. His father was killed by the Nazis, and a series of paintings and other works of art were stolen from his home. It is in his conversation with an old friend, Bill, that we learn about his past history. Bill also tells him about the Windward Islands, where he’d been working. He explains that on the island there are many Germans and Nazis who escaped from justice. One of these German men Bill mentions is Otto and his triptych, and when he describes the scenes of Joan of Arc in the painting, Guy thinks that this must have belonged to his family. So now I imagine that Guy will travel to the Windward Islands to find out if Otto was the one who killed his father and ransacked his family home.