Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Da Vinci Deception-Thomas Swan

The Da Vinci Deception

Thomas Swan

Morrow, Nov 27 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9781557049681

Super-egotistic art expert Jonas Kalem has concocted a major con on the art world. He has enlisted four people to help him sell phony da Vinci sketches from what he reported is recently found manuscripts. Jonas blackmails ex-con Curtis Stiehl into forging the works. Retired professor Giorgi Burri will authenticate Stiehl's products. Chemist Eleanor Shepard has been tricked into locating five-century old art material. Finally, Tony Walters will insure no one disobeys Jonas' orders and perform any ugly deeds he requires.

However, the perfect plan unravels almost from the start when the police quickly realize that a da Vinci collection (borrowed by Kalem and his team so as to help fine tune Stiehl's eye) is found to be stolen long before the criminals were ready for its detection. Obstinate Inspector John Oxby and Superintendent Walter Deats of the Scotland Yard Art and Antiques Squad begin the investigation. They follow the fleeing crooks to New York and Lake Como in an effort to insure justice is done.

This reprint of the Da Vinci Deception is an exciting art mystery that happily includes the return of bullheaded John Oxby (see The Cezanne Chase). The story line is crisp and fun to follow, but occasionally bogs down with too much art specific information that can easily be skipped without missing a beat. Fans of the sub-genre will enjoy Thomas Swan's cat and mouse thriller.

Harriet Klausner

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