Stillton Academy is in financial trouble. And a Stillton instructor has purportedly disappeared with a female first-year student, daughter of the Academy's only significant donor.
Two of the trustees ask art collector Clayton Reed for the services of his employee, Fred Taylor. Fred goes undercover as a member of the faculty and soon discovers conflicting motives among faculty and students, as well as a board of trustees whose interest in the long-term survival of the academy seems lazy, misguided, or perhaps more sinister. Meanwhile, the motives of Taylor's employer remain obscure. He will only say, "Trust no one. Look at everything." What hidden treasure is Clayton hoping for? And can Fred find it before the college goes up in flames?
Nicholas Kilmer, formerly dean of the Swain School of Design in New Bedford, Massachusetts, presently makes his living in the art business. A Butterfly in Flame is seventh in his Fred Taylor art mystery series.