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Murder at the National Gallery [Hardcover]

Margaret Truman
2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 2 1996
Continuing her success in Capital Crimes, the bestselling author of First Ladies takes readers behind the exhibits at one of D.C.'s most popular attractions. When a senior curator at the National Gallery discovers a lost Caravaggio, he concocts a masterly scheme to exhibit and exploit the masterpiece, which escalates into murder as an art form.

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From Publishers Weekly

Truman, daughter of Harry and Bess, centers the latest in her Capitol Crimes series, starring Washington, D.C., insiders Annabel and Mac Reed, in the often corrupt world of international art. Although the title incident doesn't occur until nearly the last chapter, the pace of the preceding action is breathless. As the National Gallery prepares for a special Caravaggio exhibit, senior curator Luther Mason happens to "discover" a lost Caravaggio masterpiece while in Italy. Installing the original in the exhibit but making plans to replace it afterwards, Mason, aided by cultural attache Carlo Giliberti, commissions two forgeries?one to send back to Italy and the other to sell to an underground art dealer who believes he is buying the original. In the meantime, Mason must deal with his scrounging son, Julian, and his mistress and gallery assistant, Lynn Marshall, who is angling for a quick promotion. Along for the ride is well-known art critic, the asexual M. Scott Pims, who adores intrigue. After four murders, the players who remain meet for a thrilling chase from Rome to Abruzzi. The amiable Reeds?Annabel is a gallery owner and Mac a law school professor?are in top form here.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA. Truman introduces readers to an art world in which theft, forgery, blackmail, and murder are everyday occurrences, and big money is the catalyst. Senior curator of the National Gallery of Art, Luther Mason, is planning a brilliant exhibition of Caravaggio paintings, culminating with the "surprising" discovery of a work that has been lost for hundreds of years. The commission of two expert forgeries of the lost painting propel Mason, the staff of the museum, the wife of the Vice-President of the United States, and the government of Italy into a dangerous treasure hunt. Truman writes comfortably and simply. By using a modern literary device, she forces readers to synthesize events and information presented in the beginning of the book into the plot. An entertaining mystery.?Debbie Hyman, R. E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Man Turns to Crime Sept. 26 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In Murder at the National Gallery, Margaret Truman examines the character flaws that can make a relatively mild-mannered, relatively good man, Luther Mason, turn to crime. We get to meet his cold mother, his ambitious ex-wife, his controlling girlfriend, his spoiled son, and also the delightful Annabel Reed-Smith, commissioned by the Vice-President's wife to work with Luther on the National Gallery's prestigious exhibit of the tempestuous Italian painter Carivaggio's work.

It's Annabel that helps to solve the mystery. We get to experience her joys and trials as an art gallery owner. We travel with her to Italy and learn about the amazing collections of magnificent art that exist in that country. We also hold our breath when Annabel gets mixed up in Luther Mason's crazy schemes and comes close to losing her life.

In my opinion, Murder at the National Gallery started slow. However, I felt happy that I stayed with the story because it heated up nicely as it progressed until I felt very grateful for the wide range of characters, an insider's look into the world of fine art forgeries, behind the scenes at the Capital, the Italian mob's connection with fine art, and a suspenseful mystery.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The old switch-a-roo !!!! Jan. 8 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The lost Carvaggio is discovered and a certain National Gallery curator has big ideas for its future. Why not copy it a couple of times, sell the fakes and take it with him to some far off place where he may enjoy the three r's for the rest of his life? He could let go of his useless family, nagging ex-wives and the daily D.C. grind. Can he get away with it? Will someone or something interrupt the perfect plan for the big switch-a-roo?
Truman writes a predictable story that is mildly enjoyable. However, the characters she uses have absolutely no personality distinctions. It is extremely difficult for dear reader to draw a mental image of each character because she makes almost no attempt to give them any physically identifiable distinctions! This novel is somewhat discouraging for want of this reviewer to peruse another Truman story.
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1.0 out of 5 stars The ending ruins it Jan. 9 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If you are a Washingtonian who hangs around galleries, etc. then you'll recognize a lot of names in this book, and that may make it fun. But most of the time the story really drags and it takes some prodigious leaps to actually swallow some of the scenes described. The worst is the ending, which is a very deflating experience. Definately not one of her best.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Long on story, short on mystery . . . April 1 2002
By H. Male
Format:Paperback
Luther Mason, respected senior curator at the National Gallery, hatches a complicated plan to "discover" a long lost Caravaggio painting in Italy, brings it to Washington to be a part of a Caravaggio exhibit and has 2 forgeries made, one of which will be sold and passed off as the original to a San Francisco mobster thug/art connoisseur who happens to be bankrolling Luther's activities to get the painting in the first place. Whew. . . It's an interesting story at times, but there are a lot of characters to keep track of. The last third of the book is where most of the mystery and action occurs. I would not recommend this book if you want something fast-paced and suspenseful.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not Margaret Truman's best Jan. 28 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm a fan of Margaret Truman, but I found it laborious to get through this one. I found most of the characters shallow and totally unlikeable. The ending was absurd. Even Annabelle and Mac can't make this one worthwhile!
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