The Cellini Masterpiece
Review: As a work of historical fiction, The Cellini Masterpiece is a terrific book. It has an intriguing premise and a well considered plot. There is little doubt that author Raymond John performed an extensive amount of research on Cellini and Malta that is reflected in this story, and he clearly has a great deal of respect for the country and its people. The problem is that, as marketed, The Cellini Masterpiece isn't much of a mystery or a thriller.
Rick Olsen is drawn to Malta at the request of his brother who has discovered a lost drawing of a work of art by Benbenuto Cellini. Even before he can exit the airport, Rick is accosted and robbed of his personal possessions. This is the first of numerous risky situations in which Rick finds himself throughout the book, sometimes of his own accord, but in any given situation there is no immediate sense of danger. Rick soon learns that his brother has been kidnapped, but there is no sense of urgency on Rick's part to ascertain where he is being held and by whom. The only true emotion Rick shows is his growing affection for Caterina, yet ironically the romantic subplot is the weakest element of the story.
John handles his narrative well, and as fiction, The Cellini Masterpiece is certainly enjoyable. But his lack of depth and dimension in the characters and the general absence of tension weaken the overall impression of the book when considered as a mystery or thriller.
Acknowledgment: Raymond John provided an ARC of The Cellini Masterpiece for this review.
Review Copyright © 2006 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Mix, Match and Murder
North Star Press (Trade Paperback), September 2008
ISBN-13: 9780878392896; ISBN-10: 0878392890
Location(s) referenced in The Cellini Masterpiece: Malta
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The Cellini Masterpiece by Raymond John
Publisher: North Star Press
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: August 2006
List Price: $14.95