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

4.1 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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Paperback, February 4, 2011
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The Numberlys Fall Reading
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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

Aaron Elkins is a former anthropologist and professor who has been writing mysteries and thrillers since 1982. His major continuing series features forensic anthropologist‑detective Gideon Oliver, “the Skeleton Detective.” There are fifteen published titles to date in the series. 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. His work has been published in a dozen languages.
Mr. Elkins won the 1988 Edgar Award for best mystery of the year for Old Bones, the fourth book in the Gideon Oliver Series. He and his cowriter and wife, Charlotte, also won an Agatha Award, and he has also won a Nero Wolfe Award. Mr. Elkins lives on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula with Charlotte.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback 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 (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,247,096 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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This is the second Aaron Elkins book I had read. (I have finished all the Chris Norgren stories - and hope there will be more.)

I've got to tell you, he's an adicting author.

The pace of the story moves quickly, so you keep reading because you don't want to miss a thing. Once I pick up his books, I keep reading until I finish. There went another night's sleep.

When Elkins describes cities and areas, you feel as if you are present in the moment. The details about the places always make you wish you could be there and wander those streets and places.
The characters become familiar to you, like friends - so it's really nice to know there are more stories about them, so you can follow their progress. (Or, at the time I was reading them, I'd hoped there would be more. )
Since this is a murder mystery, naturally, you are pulled into the process of solving the murder (murders?) as Chris Norgren gets helplessly pulled into circumstances that he feels compelled to investigate.

I love the historical detail, learning about the recoveries of art the Nazis had plundered. Learning how the Nazis had stored and cataloged paintings. Minute details about how to identify an art work. The people who were victimized become more real. The efforts of the American military to identify owners and restore the treasures to people - I had no idea. And the problems a museum and a curator face in trying to move delicate, fragile paintings long distances, the security, the logistics, etc. Never gave it a thought before. Now it matters.

Each story is an education, on so many levels, as well a captivating mystery.
I love writers who make me think.
But writers that teach me, too?
Very unusual.
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