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The suspense of the novel is sustained by the careful revelation of the central art-theft plot; in turn, each major character becomes the narrative center and offers an expanded understanding of the events at San Giovanni. While Argyll is troubled over his fiancée's frequent absences just prior to their wedding, Flavia feels compelled to keep odd hours. She's certain that her old nemesis, Mary Verney, has returned to Rome with the intention of committing a major new theft. And Verney, readers soon learn, is herself in jeopardy. She must steal a Madonna icon from the monastery--despite the close scrutiny she faces from the Rome police force--because the sadistic Mikis Charanis has kidnapped Verney's granddaughter, 8-year-old Louise, and he will only release the child when Verney has acquired the artifact from San Giovanni. Underlying each character's concerns is the mystery of the Madonna itself. Why does Charanis covet this piece over the more valuable, though still dubious, Caravaggio that is also in the monastery? In the end, the novel is a perfect melding of a tightly composed mystery plot, witty dialogue, and a realistic sense of character, all flowing from an intellectual's appreciation for the finer things in life. For readers who discovered Pears's fiction through An Instance of the Fingerpost, the Argyll series--particularly Death and Restoration--offers much to satiate the need for his pleasantly baroque sensibilities. Other works in the Argyll series include The Raphael Affair, The Titian Committee, The Bernini Bust, The Last Judgement, and Giotto's Hand. --Patrick O'Kelley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I just finished Pears The Immaculate Deception and enjoyed it so much that I moved on to Death and Restoration next. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Rebecca Mugridge
AS AN ARTIST, AND ART RESTORER, AND A MYSTERY READER, THIS APPEALED IMMENSELY TO ME...WELL WRITTEN, AND INEXPENSIVE.Published 10 months ago by George R. Reis
Imaginative, humorous and even believable mystery, without unnecessary ugliness. Nice to have a good read
and a little art history combined.
To be honest, I love all the art history murders - the plots, the characters, the backdrop.
I feel like I have gone on an exotic vacation every time I read one. Read more
I love to read a book by an author who is as smart, or smarter, than me. And Iain Pears is! I had read Death and Restoration a couple of years ago but thought it was time to... Read morePublished on September 26, 2012 by mauijon akawarhistorynut
Art theft, restoration, yadda yadda. Well put together book about art and restoration. What else can one say. Well worth the time.Published on May 19, 2012 by NorthShoreCanary
Pears has written a deliciously intricate and plausible mystery with fascinating characters and a terrific ending. Read morePublished on June 29, 2011 by Thomas Grover