Lily Kovner, nicknamed the Jewish Miss Marple, accidentally spies a familiar-looking painting hanging in the unlikely setting of a shabby restaurant in Vatican City. Simon Rieger, her significant other, has been summoned to examine a previously unknown manuscript, attributed to a famous Talmudic scholar, unaccountably stored there.
A suspicious death and the disappearance of both the painting and manuscript lead Lily and Simon to Lviv, Ukraine, newly freed from Soviet rule but a city lacking vestiges of the vibrant Jewish community that thrived there for centuries before World War II and isolation behind the Iron Curtain.
Lily recalls her one pre-war childhood visit to this city then known as Lw w, Poland, and wonders if any of the relatives she met survived the Holocaust. The trail of the manuscript and painting provides early clues. Ultimately, the path reveals a modern woman's saga of solitary resiliance, despite the treachery of perpetrators professing to be holy, that mirrors a centuries-old local legend of a Jewish heroine who saved a landmark synagogue.