"Virgil Oldman is a solitary, cultured man whose reluctance to engage with others, especially women, is matched only by the dogged obsessiveness with which he practices his profession of antiques dealer. He's never been close to another human being, not even Robert, his only friend - a young, skillful restorer of mechanical devices from every era. The day he turns sixty-three, Virgil receives a phone call from a young woman who asks him to handle the disposal of some family works of art. But when the time comes for his first site visit, the girl fails to appear, nor, for various reasons, is she present for the taking of the inventory or for the transportation and restoration of the pieces. More than once Virgil is tempted to bow out of what appears to be nothing but a bothersome mess, but on each occasion, the mysterious young woman, locked in her own obsessional world, convinces him to continue. And with this, the old antique dealer's life begins to take an unexpected turn. It is Robert who shows him, step-by-step, how to win the heart of a young woman who is afraid of the world and, caught in the middle of this puzzling game of chess, Virgil soon finds himself enveloped by a passion that will transform his grey existence forever."