Constructed as a series of letters to a slightly fay, newly divorced, 45 year old antiques expert, this whodunit offers criminality inset in decorating news and auction house frippery. Mrs. Sterling Glass is keeping her ex-husband’s last name because “who would give up the name Kennedy in favor of O’Riley?”. There is an analogy here somewhere.Mrs. Glass answers letters to Dear Antiques Expert written by readers of the local newspaper, such as
Dear Antiques Expert:
We were recently broken into and we lost silver and jewelry and some antique prints… The burglars were caught but when the cases came to trial they got off with really light sentences… How can that be?
Mrs. Sterling Glass responds:
…you have to expose law enforcements officers to the arts so they will have an understanding of the seriousness of personal property theft involving art and antiques. Unfortunately even today not enough police officers know enough about art and antiques and their historical and monetary value to make a strong case against the thiefs.
The civilizing process must involve the education of the senses, which is the basis of aesthetic judgements. The United States are, in this regard, uncivilized. But Mrs. Glass is here to remedy this situation.