The Costumes of Covent Garden, a new traveling exhibit of costumes worn by the British Royal Opera, is making its debut at the Maine Museum of Art, and director Dulcie Chambers couldn't be more thrilled, especially since the woman in charge of the elaborate display is Dulcie's former professor from Oxford and now good friend Francine Belmont. Along with numerous trunks filled with dazzling clothes, Francine brings with her a small sewing and design staff that includes American Bella Washington, a young and talented New York design school graduate who has quickly become Francine's primary assistant.
Opera is never a straightforward affair, however. Dulcie's brother, owner of a successful yacht touring company and a confirmed bachelor, has fallen hard for Bella. He finds himself in competition with the exhibit's opening gala singer Antonio who can bring down the house with his arias. Bella has her own plot twist though, as she has no interest in either of them. She is too busy with the bolts of lavish fabrics and intricate stitchwork required in her work.
Comedy turns to tragedy with a sudden death in the museum basement. Was it simply a terrible accident, or have the darker forces been at play? Detective Nicholas Black enters the stage to investigate, but in scene after scene he is unable to move that plot forward. Yet, while the chorus is silent for Nick on the questionable death, they've clearly begun singing on the matter of love. He and Dulcie are most definitely beginning Act II of their budding romance.
While opera conjures exciting thoughts of theatrics and song, both Dulcie and Nick are painfully aware that the literal translation of the Italian word "opera" in English is "work". Sorting through the increasingly nefarious clues, they come to realize that in life, as in opera, a dramatic accident is almost never accidental.