Immaculate Deception Paperback – Jul 19 2001
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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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is a delightful addition to the previous entries in this series, although at time the action becomes a little to convoluted for belief. A heartily enjoyable book in a wonderful series. Deduct one star for the small amount of interaction between the main characters (Flavia & Jonathan)- they are a riot when they are detecting together. In this book they spend most of their time jaunting about independently, only meeting up again briefly for the conclusion.
Pears has left himself an opening with the end of this book to either end the series or to proceed with it in a slightly new direction. One can only hope that he is currently working on the next Flavia-Jonathan mystery....
This ongoing storyline is light fare if compared to Fingerpost, but a comparison would be without merit, for these are a group of novellas and not a singular expansive work. This addition to the series is much stronger than previous works. The dialogue is sharper, the wit more clever, and most importantly, more original. Like Michael Dibdin who Authors the Aurelio Zen series, Mr. Pears sustained the tension throughout the work. The plot twists were well placed, and benefited from the 40 plus years the story uses to unwind itself.
This book is clearly the last, as we have known the series, Mr. Pears seems to be making irrevocable changes, but future works will branch from this work, and the potential for further originality of plot without the loss of the familiar, is clearly their for Mr. Pears to create. I thought his handling of the adjustment to the series was particularly well managed. He did not resort to melodrama, rather he begins a transition that is logical, untainted by literary cliché, and will give new life to a series that has steadily improved.
Good reading, good fun, enjoy.
This story artfully intertwines the lives of Mary Verney, (everyones favorite art thief) with that of Taddeo Bottando-Flavia's boss, and the handy work of the two "detectives". Taddeo actually takes center stage in this novel for a while, which is a refreshing change of pace. We learn about how he became a part of Italy's Art Theft Squad, and how he plans to leave it.
The book also holds two major surprises, both dealing with issues close to Flavia. Iain's latest may be his greatest, and certainly leaves us hanging on for the next novel in this series of Art History Mysteries.
The present book is a good addition to the series. Pears is inventive enough not to have lost momentum and has kept the professional and personal lives of his characters evolving in a way that prevents them from becoming stale. Good bedtime reading.
Most recent customer reviews
I am a great fan of the Jonathan Argyll series as written by Iain Pears. You get a terrific plot, some wonderful inside knowledge of the world of art, and art crimes, and a... Read morePublished on April 9 2002 by Brad S. Leyhe
This was the first Flavia di Stefano book that I've read, and it won't be the last. Flavia is pulled against her wishes (and against much advice) into the disappearance of a... Read morePublished on Feb. 1 2002 by frumiousb
What an absolute joy to have another book by Iain Pears! All the old characters are here: Flavia di Stefano, now acting head of the art crimes squad; Jonathan Argyll, now her... Read morePublished on Feb. 20 2001 by lvkleydorff
like all previous mysteries in the series starring jonathan argyll and flavia, this book is wonderful. Read morePublished on Oct. 19 2000 by M. S. Butch