A relic of Manhattan's Gilded Age, the Erich Bruel House is home to an idiosyncratic collection of art. For over sixty years it has managed on donations from the visiting public and its dwindling trust fund. But tastes in art do change and in trying to restore the house's faded luster, its trustees propose a major retrospective for rewned artist Oscar Nauman. A festive Christmas party in Nauman's hor ends in acrimony--and next morning one of the trustees is found in a most unfestive heap at the bottom of the basement steps. Lt. Sigrid Harald had been an unwilling guest and the party and w she must return to investigate why that trustee was so universally hated.