Having picked up the wrong man at the airport, Vanessa Aldridge can't imagine what her boss will say. But when her passenger kills two men, steals the car and abandons her in the centre of Rome dressed only in her lingerie and high heels, she reckons she might be able to take a guess. In jail and out of a job, a visit from a consular official persuades her that the worst is over; and so it is, if you don't count being kidnapped and forced to cross the Alps on horseback. And she hasn't even met Arthur Shepherd yet. Arthur's a cleaner working for Lambeth Council. His chief accountabilities include knifing, shooting, strangling or occasionally shoving under buses, anyone who might prove an embarrassment to the nation. When a number of his colleagues find themselves on the sticky end of a variety of sharp, heavy or very high velocity bits of metal, Arthur reasons he could well be next. The Rothko Room is a tale of murder, music, fine art, tea and toilets.