Ruins of Grandeur
Review: Donald G. Geddes III, introduces Peter Grant on the trail of a stolen masterpiece in Venice in Ruins of Grandeur, the first of a trilogy of mysteries featuring the international art sleuth.
Peter is hired by Lloyd's of London to recover a missing Bellini, a masterpiece presumably stolen from a Duke's residence in Venice. Peter's ex-wife happens to live in Venice, but upon arrival he's disappointed to learn she's vacationing elsewhere on the Continent. He quickly discovers that the missing painting is just one of a large number of religious artifacts that have recently disappeared, including one taken from a monk who was killed in Venice while returning to Rome from Murano. The police have no suspects until Peter is presented as one when the police convince him to pose as a thief and then a dead woman turns up in his apartment. Pursued by the police and by the real criminals who believe he knows too much, Peter must save himself before he's a victim himself.
Ruins of Grandeur tries to be light, romantic comedy as well as serious suspense fiction coupled with international action intrigue but never quite strikes the right balance between any of them. Peter Grant is clearly patterned after the ever-suave Cary Grant (the similarity in their names almost certainly not a coincidence) and the plot seems written more as the basis for a screenplay than as a novel. The Venice setting is spendidly descriptive and most of the characters are creatively drawn if a bit shallow and stereotypical. But the story lacks substance and after adopting a decidedly leisurely pace for much of the narrative, the ending is overly rushed which may be an attempt disguise the fact that the resolution to the various crimes is quite illogical. On balance, though, Ruins of Grandeur is a pleasantly entertaining if undemanding mystery.
Acknowledgment: Morgana Press provided a copy of Ruins of Grandeur for this review.
Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Ruins of Grandeur: Venice, Italy
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Ruins of Grandeur by Donald G. Geddes, III — A Peter Grant Mystery
Publisher: Morgana Press
Publication Date: October 2008
List Price: $17.95