Divorced American academic David Reid teaches English by day and spends his free time writing mystery novels that nobody reads. In London he meets his new editor, Kate. Blonde and beautiful, she is also mysterious and aloof—and soon captivates David.
The feeling seems mutual and the two are soon wed, but Kate quickly spirals into a deep sadness. In less than two years, she leaves David and heads to New York City. Just as the shock of her absence sets in, David receives a call announcing Kate’s instant death under a subway train.
Was Kate trying to return to David when she was killed? Was it an accident? A suicide? A murder? The more David learns, the less he wants to know—especially when he discovers Kate had been having an affair with French novelist Marc Rougemont, whose work she was allegedly translating.
As David searches for the truth about his wife, he becomes fixated on two paintings of women by Dutch master Johannes Vermeer, for whom David and Kate shared a passion that bordered on obsession. Was his wife as unknowable as the subjects of these cryptic, beautifully rendered portraits?