When prominent businessman and arts patron E. Dillon Parsons is murdered at the prestigious Verdi Society's annual masquerade ball, Homicide Lieutenant Douglas MacArthur Kim is plunged into the Philadelphia arts scene, where, to find the killer he must follow a path of deception in which the arts are subject to corporate whim and justice is subordinated to political expediency.
When three other members of the city's arts scene are murdered, the pathways of deception branch even farther, forcing Kim to cope with pressure from his superior officer, who wants to be police commissioner; from the District Attorney, who wants to be mayor; and from an overbearing newspaper editor, who wants headlines. They want an arrest and conviction, even though Kim is convinced the prime suspect is innocent.
Along the way, Kim must come to grips with the deceptions of his own life. Half Korean, half Caucasian, he is torn between two cultures. Unsure of his own identity, he has become alienated from his American stepfather, who brought him to this country and raised him as his own, then abandoned him and his mother for another woman. Now, he must follow deception's path until he reaches a doorway of truth.