Author: Aaron Elkins
Original language: English
Another adventure for curator Chris Norgren, specialist in Renaissance and Baroque at the Seattle Arts Museum (Deceptive Clarity, 1987). Here, Chris is soon to leave for Bologna to finalize preparations for a show in Seattle called Northerners In Italy. The Bolognese museum and Clara Gozzi, a private collector, are lending works to be shipped by the well-established company of the Salvatorelli brothers. Both the museum and Clara had been victims of a major theft two years earlier, in the course of which a watchman was killed. Now, just before Chris’s departure, Clara’s stolen Rubens has turned up, in a Salvatorelli shipment to Mike Blusher, importer of objets d’art. Chris, arriving in Bologna, meets old friends, a not so old girlfriend, and new enemies. He also finds himself in the middle of a complex train of scams and double-crosses that puts his life at risk, but eventually he’ll reclaim the lost masterpieces. Chris is cool and likable, the Italians exuberant and wily, the art history lucid but restrained, and the plot good-naturedly confusing but fun all the way. Elkins at his best.