The Art Whisperer
Review: Alix London is in Palm Springs to restore a few paintings prior to their being auctioned off to raise funds for the private Brethwaite Museum, when she sees the museum's prized possession, a Jackson Pollock — a painting style she's not an expert in, but about which she has an uneasy feeling — in The Art Whisperer, the third mystery in this series by Charlotte and Aaron Elkins.
Alix takes her suspicion to the senior curator of the Brethwaite, Clark Calder, who was responsible for its acquisition. He assures her that the provenance is sound, and will show her the paperwork once the preparations for the auction are complete. But before he can do so, he's killed by a hit-and-run driver. His death doesn't halt the auction, but it does bring in the FBI, who think he may have been involved with the fraudulent purchase of a Whistler at his previous job and who have their own suspicions about the Pollock.
The hit-and-run that kills Calder, which — of course — turns out to be murder, doesn't happen until about half-way in, by which point several mini-subplots have been set up as misdirection for the reader. Fans of art-themed mysteries will appreciate some of the background information presented, and Alix herself is a most engaging character. Though put in mortal danger not once, but twice, she manages to walk away from both encounters with scarcely a scratch. Neither scene is really necessary to the plot, but does provide the only action in the book. The various chapters from other characters' points of view seem a little disconnected from the main story, as if they were inserted later as an afterthought, and are more of a means to readily advance the plot and conveniently fill in some holes than anything else. Fast paced, and with a storyline that isn't all that demanding, The Art Whisperer is a generally entertaining mystery, a pleasant way to while away a quiet afternoon.
Acknowledgment: Thomas & Mercer provided an eARC of The Art Whisperer for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
A Cruise To Die For
Thomas & Mercer (Trade Paperback), September 2013
ISBN-13: 9781477805077; ISBN-10: 1477805079
Location(s) referenced in The Art Whisperer: Palm Springs, California
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The Art Whisperer by Charlotte and Aaron Elkins — An Alix London Mystery
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: August 2014
List Price: $14.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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