In 1960s Oxford, Professor Henry Lytten is attempting to write a fantasy novel that forgoes the magic of his predecessors, J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. He finds an unlikely confidante in his quick-witted, inquisitive young neighbor, Rosie. One day, while chasing Lytten's cat, Rosie encounters a doorway in his cellar. She steps through and finds herself in an idyllic, pastoral land where storytellers are revered above all others.
In an exchange of favors with an art dealer colleague, Jonathan Argyll unluckily offers to transport a painting from Paris back to Rome. It seems routine work, and Jonathan gets to meet his girlfriend, Flavia, who works for Rome's Art Theft Squad. But when a would-be thief tries to take the painting at the train station, and the art dealer seems less interested in his purchase once he sees it, Jonathan wonders why, as events unfold, someone is willing to kill for it.
Iain Pears tells the story of John Stone, financier and arms dealer, a man so wealthy that in the years before World War One he was able to manipulate markets, industries, and indeed entire countries and continents. A panoramic novel with a riveting mystery at its heart, Stone's Fall is a quest to discover how and why John Stone dies, falling out of a window at his London home.
"Iain Pears-Always more than you bargained for."
When Jonathan Argyll is arrested for breaking into an obscure church in Rome, he claims that it contains a long-lost Raphael hidden under a painting by Mantini. The painting disappears - then reappears in the hands of the top British art dealer, Edward Byrnes. How has Byrnes found out about the hidden masterpiece, and whom is he acting for? There is also the curious matter of the safe deposit box full of sketches closely resembling features of the newly discovered painting.
"Beautiful art, elegant wit and amusing writing"
An utterly compelling historical mystery, in the tradition of Umberto Eco and John Fowles. The setting is England in the 1660s. Oliver Cromwell's short-lived republic is a thing of the past, and Charles II has been restored to the throne. At Oxford's New College, fellow Robert Grove is found dead under suspicious circumstances, and a young woman stands accused. We hear from four witnesses, only one of whom is telling the rather extraordinary truth. Who is it?
"An Instance of the Fingerpost"
An influential art critic in the early years of the 20th century journeys from London to the rustic, remote island of Houat, off France's northwest coast, to sit for a portrait painted by an old friend, a gifted but tormented artist living in self-imposed exile.
"Good, but tedious"
Set in Oxford in the 1660s – a time and place of great intellectual, scientific, religious and political ferment – this remarkable novel centres around a young woman, Sarah Blundy, who stands accused of the murder of Robert Grove, a fellow of New College. Four witnesses describe the events surrounding his death: Marco da Cola, a Venetian Catholic intent on claiming credit for the invention of blood transfusion;
"A gripping tale!"
This is the story of John Stone, financier and armaments manufacturer, a man so wealthy that in the years before World War One he was able to manipulate markets, industries and indeed whole countries and continents. A panoramic novel with a riveting mystery at its heart, Stone's Fall is a quest to discover how and why John Stone dies, falling out of a window at his London home.
In the early years of the 20th century, influential art critic William Nasmyth travels to a remote island off the coast of Brittany to sit for a portrait painted by his old friend, the gifted but tormented artist Henry MacAlpine. Over the course of the sitting, MacAlpine recalls their years of friendship, the double-edged gift of the critic's patronage, the power he wielded over aspiring artists, and his apparent callousness in anointing the careers of some and devastating the lives of others.