The cave of Lascaux may be closed to the public, but five scholars a day are allowed inside, and Nora Barnes has finagled an appointment. True, she may have fudged a bit in her letter to the authorities, but she does teach art history, and she isn't about to miss her chance to see the world's most famous prehistoric paintings. Nora and her high-spirited husband, Toby, are visiting the Dordogne, in the southern French region of the Aquitaine. Aware that the Dordogne's renown for cave art is matched only by its reputation for delicious cuisine, the couple has also signed up for a cooking class at a nearby château.
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Life in Bodega Bay on the rugged, foggy coast of northern California has been pretty quiet since Alfred Hitchcock filmed The Birds there. But antiques dealer Toby Sandler learns that his new business partner Charlie has been found dead on an abandoned boat in the harbor. When the local sheriff discovers that Charlie's newly acquired Hitchcock artifacts and a painting of an angel are missing, he enlists Toby and his wife, Nora Barnes, an art historian, in the investigation.