A woman who bought a charming still life by revered British painter William Nicholson is horrified that it has been left out of the artist’s catalogue raisonnée – the official list of his works. The implication is that her painting – for which she paid a non-trivial £165,000 – is a fake.
The considerable forces of the series are mobilised behind erasing the stain on the picture’s character. In one typically eye-opening scene Fiona Bruce is visiting the artist’s grandson, when he opens an old chest to reveal items that belonged to Nicholson – props used in his work, a well-worn smock, palettes spattered with paint, a box of his pigments. They’re both lovely to see and useful clues in solving the mystery, along with 1930s railway timetables and X-rays. “This is becoming a lot more Agatha Christie than we’re used to,” mutters Philip Mould.