It's a headline-making story: the discovery of a previously unknown Rembrandt. Ren Vachey, the iconoclastic art dealer who claims to have uncovered it, wants to make a gift of it to the Seattle Art Museum, but curator Chris Norgren is wary. Vachey is notorious in art circles for perpetrating scandalous shams; not for profit but for the sheer fun of embarrassing the elite and snobbish "experts" of the art establishment. And thanks to the web of strings attached to Vachey's donation (e.g., no scientific testing permitted), even Rembrandt expert Chris is uncertain as to whether or not the painting is authentic. His doubts multiply when he goes to Dijon to examine it, and finds himself in the middle of a host of controversies of which Vachey is the devilish focus. But there's no doubt that the bullet soon found in Vachey's head is authentic. And there's no telling how much time Chris has to find the truth about the "masterpiece" - and the murder - before he finds himself painted into a corner by a shrewd and villainous murderer.
1993 Nero Award, given by The Nero Wolfe Society/The Wolfe Pack for literary excellence in the mystery genre.
©1993 Aaron Elkins (P)2013 Audible Inc.
The narrator's mispronunciation of French words and phrases, and even the names of well-known artists, was truly cringe-worthy--I winced every time. The narrator butchered words unabashedly, which repeatedly took me out of the story. If this sort of thing bothers you, avoid this book.
Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.
Here's what I really, really enjoyed about this book: it was filled with pages of interesting information about art and art history. Loved hearing about artists, and things like debates around the worth of "fakes" and forgeries, and so forth. The story itself was clever.
Here's what I liked less: although interesting, at times it seemed written for about a high school reading level. Sometimes sort of stilted language (but not always).
Here's what I liked even less: the narrator read too fast.
Here's what left me absolutely cringing and needing a bullet to bite on: this book is filled with French words--vocabulary, places, names, even French accents for characters who spoke English. A lot more than the occasional French phrase thrown in here and there. This narrator murdered the French language! It was pretty awful. I might have thought the producer of this book could have found an accomplished bilingual reader to have made it a more credible listen.
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