Prior George Aletiv-i^nmtt his sister Marie need Lovejoy's help. The ancient Albansham Priory is in deep financial trouble, owing to Georges heavy gambling debts, and they would like Lovejoy to suss out the Priory's valuable antiques. For research purposes of course, Lovejoy and his friend Gesso the cat burglar break into the Priory at dead of night. Gesso is caught, but Lovejoy for once is lucky (he thinks) and escapes with a rare Roderick O'Conor painting. f But, despite frantic nocturnal attempts to conceal it, by morning the canvas has vanished from his derelict workshop. Only hours later Gesso disappears, the Priory suddenly closes, and Prior George and his flock are gone. «• Worse still, at the now eerily quiet Albansham Priory, Lovejoy finds evidence that Gesso has been murdered .
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