A good working rule for the police is to have as little as possible to do with politicians, but Flavia, acting head of the Rome Art Squad, finds herself deprived of that luxury when the Prime Minister involves himself in the case of a painting hijacked for ransom... Iain Pears' new thriller The Immaculate Deception
picks up the story of Flavia and her British art-dealer husband Jonathan at a point where they are thinking seriously about the rest of their lives--Flavia is pregnant and Jonathan is in the process of selling off his remaining stock. The last thing they need is for Flavia to find herself at the heart of a major scandal involving illegal handovers of ransom, the last gasp of 1970s terrorism and a performance artist who has drowned in a vat of plaster. Meanwhile, Jonathan sets out to track down an unattributed painting owned by Flavia's former boss, and uncovers some neat little mysteries of his own... Art scholarship and police work are not that like each other, but Iain Pears wittily explores what analogies between them there are; he is intelligent about art, and marriage and Italian politics. This is a worthy addition to a charming series. --Roz Kaveney
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Jonathan Argyll, accompanied by his new wife, Flavia di Stefano, makes his seventh appearance in this confusing case of a stolen painting, murder and intrigue, following 1998's well-received An Instance of the Fingerpost. Antonio Sabauda, the Italian prime minister, asks Flavia, now acting head of the national art squad, to recover Claude Lorraine's Landscape with Cephalis and Procris, stolen from an Italian museum while on loan from the Louvre. Flavia, however, must not use public money for the requested ransom. As Flavia's former boss, Gen. Taddeo Bottando, has told her, "Prime ministers? Oh, they can ruin your life." She finds this is true on many levels. Meanwhile, Argyll, the art expert, is snooping into the provenance of a small painting owned by Bottando. Soon Argyll and Flavia find that almost everyone they talk to in their respective investigations has a hidden agenda. Who is behind all the shady goings-on in the art world? Is it Prime Minister Sabauda, General Bottando or another person with something to protect? Ultimately, as people's motives become clearer and one corpse after another turns up, Argyll and Flavia find that they have to make some very disturbing choices involving their own sense of morality. A personal secret that Flavia harbors until the end adds some intrigue. While the author nicely portrays the Italian art world, readers looking for a scintillating mystery will have to seek elsewhere.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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