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A Deceptive Clarity (a Chris Norgren Mystery: Book One) Paperback – February 4, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Curator Chris Norgren heads to Berlin to help mount a sensational exhibit of priceless works once thought to be lost. But the occasion turns chilling when Chris's boss, after sensing a forgery in the lot, turns up dead the next day outside a Frankfort brothel. Now Chris faces two near-impossible tasks--finding a fake painting amng the masterpieces, and a REAL killer still at large....
"Elkins thoroughly understands the art of the murder mystery."
THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

With their backgrounds in art scholarship, forensic anthropology, and psychology, Charlotte and Aaron Elkins were destined to be mystery writers. Between them, they’ve written thirty mysteries since 1982, garnering such awards as the Agatha Award for the best short story of the year, the Edgar Award for the year’s best mystery, and the Nero Wolfe Award for Literary Excellence. The pair revels in creating intensively researched works that are as accessible and absorbing as they are sophisticated and stylish. Charlotte was born in Houston, Texas, Aaron in New York City. They live on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: e-reads.com (February 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1617561789
  • ISBN-13: 978-1617561788
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,364,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm a former anthropologist who has been writing mysteries and thrillers since 1982, having won an Edgar for Old Bones, as well as a subsequent Agatha (with my wife Charlotte), and a Nero Wolfe Award. My major continuing series features forensic anthropologist-detective Gideon Oliver, "the Skeleton Detective."

Lately, I've seen myself referred to as "the father of the modern forensic mystery," and, by gosh, I think I am! Before "Fellowship of Fear," the first Gideon Oliver, published in 1982, you'd have to go back 70 years and more to Austin Freeman and his Dr. Thorndyke series. Between the two good doctors (Thorndyke and Oliver), there was only Jack Klugman's "Quincy," so far as I know, and he was a TV character.

The Gideon Oliver books have been (roughly) translated into a major ABC-TV series and have been selections of the Book-of-the-Month Club, the Literary Guild, and the Readers Digest Condensed Mystery Series. My work has been published in a dozen languages. Charlotte and I live on Washington's Olympic Peninsula, our marriage having survived (more or less intact) our collaboration on novels and short stories.

Although I've been a full-time writer for some time now, I also remain active in real-life forensics by serving as the forensic anthropologist on the Olympic Peninsula Cold Case Task Force.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 30, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I stumbled on Aaron Elkins awhile ago, and I promptly went out and bought all of his Gideon Oliver books. When Gideon was finished, I started his Chris N. books - and feel even deeper in love. Elkins truly knows how to write about art, and if you love art and art history the way I do, you'll abosultely love his book dealing with art fraud and the like. Few people can actually deal with mysteries surrounding art, because they skim the details or make reference to braodly popular pieces and artists which they know offhand. Not so with Elkins - he knows both the obscure and the popular, and he writes about art like someone who loves it and understands it. And...about the mystery? You'll like Chris as a character, and like all of Elkins mysteries, this one has plenty of plot twists and turns, and it keeps you guessing about who the culprit could be. That's a plus for any mystery, in my book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Maryland Reader on December 12, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
For those of you who like Aaron Elkins' Gideon Oliver series, I urge you to try the Chris Norgren series.

Chris Norgren is an art historian/curator with an expertise in Old Masters. Someone is sponsoring a show of Old Masters that have been located after having been plundered by the Nazis. A colleague who was curating the show asks Chris to come to Germany as he thinks there is a fake within the collection. Unfortunately, he is killed in suspicious circumstances before he can reveal his thoughts. Chris must put the puzzle pieces together before the show can go on.

There are three books in the Chris Norgren series. All are enteraining, fun, art history romps. I wrote Aaron Elkins once and asked why he didn't continue the series. He says he would love to, but the publishers don't perceive it as being as marketable as the Gideon Oliver series. Until they relent, find this series as used books and in libraries and enjoy!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By janebbooks on February 23, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
A US Army soldier finds three masterpiece paintings in an old salt mine near Saltzburg, Germany. A Titian, a Rubens, and a Vermeer. These treasures had been stolen from an Italian collector's palazzo in Florence in August 1944 by fleeing Nazis.

Enter Army Colonel Mark Robey. Let's have an art exhibition for the newly-found art, persuade Claudio Bolzano to loan other works, and provide some favorable press in Berlin for the U. S. Forces. And so "Treasures of Four Centuries: The Plundered Past Recovered" is launched.

Enter Chris Norgren. Chris is a curator at the San Francisco museum that has been awarded the oversight of The Plundered Past exhibition by the U. S. Defense Department. He's young, bored, and has a less-than-stellar degree in art history from San Jose State. When the chief curator (and Chris' immediate supervisor), Peter Van Cortlandt, calls from Berlin requesting help with irregularities, Chris accepts assignment as deputy director of the exhibition and flies to Berlin.
After a brief discussion with Chris regarding a suspicious painting without naming the work in question, Van Cortlandt flies to Frankfurt to acquire an El Greco belonging to Bolzano for the Berlin exhibition. He is found murdered near a Frankfurt brothel.

As Chris tries to solve the mystery with the help of a grungy OSI Major, the reader is deluged with some fascinating facts and glimpses of the art world: such as the difficult procedures of mounting an exhibition and the steps of investigating a suspected forgery. We follow Chris into the golden world of Florentine Cinquecento, discover methods of verification and authenticity of art, learn the vernacular--craquelure, pointelle, etc.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 7, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I love all the Chris Norgren books that Aaron Elkins has written. Pick up this book and I am sure you will agree with me that it is well worth your time. There are 3 books in this series and I wish Mr. Elkins would continue the series.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Aunt Peggy on September 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Apologies to the author, but my first comment has to be on the terrible transition of this novel from print to digital. Open Road Integrated Media publishing hasn't done Mr. Elkins any favors, and owes him (and the buyers / readers) a serious update with corrections of this 2014 digital edition. I can only guess that it was read into the system and auto-written, and that the reader's pronunciation of anything that ended in '-ly' was blurry, because the majority of the spelling errors happen on those words. Additionally (or additionady, as it might appear in this edition!) there are some bizarre spacing issues, with large blank spots intruding in the middle of sentences and paragraphs for no clear reason.

And now, to the book.

This is the second Elkins mystery I've read, the first being the much more recently written "A Dangerous Talent" (an Alix London mystery). "A Deceptive Clarity" suffers in comparison to Mr. Elkins maturation as a writer and I'll confess that if I had read it first I probably wouldn't read any more of his novels. However, now that I've seen how his writing has developed, I think that I'll keep going with the C. Norgren series.

Chris Norgren is sort of a classic, accidental sleuth and he's likeable enough, but doesn't always seem very bright. The characters around him are interesting in a one dimensional, TV sit-com kind of way and more than once I found myself drifting into a re-run of M*A*S*H or Columbo, with quirky military personnel and shuffling detectives. In an apparent effort to create a vivid and comprehensive world, quickly, the reader is introduced to many, many people who may or may not play a part in the final solution to the mystery.
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