A man is shot dead in front of City Hall in Philadelphia where his family is tangled in a bitter lawsuit. One brave woman, drawn there by a work of art, finds herself following a twisted trail to the hills of Le Marche in Italy to learn why. All the while, the cloud of fraud grows thicker and darker around her. But, as C. S. Forester said, perhaps the scandal of fraud enhances the flavor.
This thrilling story grabs and holds the reader from the first chapter through unexpected twists all the way to the richly satisfying ending. Art expert Claire Bliss and police Comandante Baldo are joined and antagonized by unforgettable characters in both Philadelphia and Italy. The authenticity of Ferreri's players and their territories give special vibrance to the novel.
Lovers of the Renaissance will be drawn in immediately by the book's cover, a painting of Mary Magdalene by Carlo Crivelli (ca. 1480) in the Rijksmuseum. Inside the book, a great art crime story unfolds together with a gem of a murder mystery.
A Cloud of Fraud is colorful, fast-moving entertainment.
Ferreri is a law expert in art and I liked learning much about a few Italian Renaissance artists and their work. I appreciated interesting information about Mary Magdalene, the subject of several of Crivelli's paintings. There was much in the complex plot about forgeries of paintings and the stealing of original and famous works of art too.
Her writing style was a little difficult for me. The dialogue was frequently stilted and sometimes repetitive. Here's an example:
“Oh dear me!” Robson said. “You mean a forgery?”
“Yes, I mean a forgery. ...” (187)
Also, the setting frequently changed between Philadelphia and Italy at the start of a chapter without any notification, such as a heading. I found that disconcerting. There are little spurts of suspense and basically no romance in the novel.
This is an informative novel and a good one for readers who would like to learn about the world of art and international thievery.
My rating: 3/5 stars.
Book Details:Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Published by: Linda Ferreri Trustee
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Number of Pages: 315
Purchase Links: Amazon | Kindle | Apple Books | Goodreads
Read an excerpt:
Linda Ferreri is the author of several art crime novels as well as witty illustrated iBooks. She is a highly respected international art law expert who divides her time between the United States and Le Marche in Italy.
Sometimes she says her most amusing book was her first, The King of UNINI, a sophisticated little romance set in Paris.
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