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ARTIFACT
by D. Grant Geddes
St. Crispin's Press, April 2002
242 pages
$25.95
ISBN: 0971063206


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Peter Grant is a fine art expert. His home base is in New York, but he sells his expertise to international auction houses, museums, art dealers and rich collectors. Corporations and insurance companies also retain his services. Peter has a "good eye" meaning he can tell when a painting is a forgery and he is well known among his peers for this ability. He feels he is a detective and likes to refer to himself as an art sleuth.

He is hired by a London insurance company to help recover several priceless paintings recently stolen from the Venetian home of an Austrian Archduke. Peter is familiar with Venice, he loves the charm, the elegance and the decadence of the old city and is pleased to be there. Besides, his estranged wife has an apartment in Venice and he hopes to do some fence mending. She is traveling but has graciously allowed him the use of her apartment. Contacting Commissario Luca Moretti at the Questura, Venice's police station, Peter learns that his contact, the Commissario, is investigating the murder and robbery of a Benedictine monk that had occurred the previous evening. He also learns that the monk was carrying a priceless artifact that he was returning to the Vatican.

This is a fairly light-hearted and fast paced novel. Peter's character is witty and intelligent and the city of Venice is a major character as the events unfold. The reader gets to enjoy a little travelogue each time Peter leaves the apartment for his travels about the city, especially the restaurants; all of the characters eat and drink well, don't read this book when you are hungry.

The major characters are well drawn, I especially liked the aging Russian Princess Irena. Although she hardly leaves her apartment, due to infirmities, she is a wealth of information to Peter and a staunch ally when his inquiries make him some deadly enemies. There are some surprises along the way and a satisfying ending. A nice way to spend an afternoon.

Reviewed by Lorraine Gelly, September 2002

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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