ISBN 10: 1845295803 / ISBN 13: 9781845295806
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Inhaltsangabe: In May 1901 the Salisbury Galleries announce the biggest exhibition of the Old Master Paintings ever seen in Europe. Excitement is intense. But before it opens, one of Britain's leading art experts, Christopher Montague, is found murdered in his study. When Lord Francis Powerscourt is called in to investigate he finds every book, notepad and scrap of paper has been removed from the scene of the crime. Montague had been working on something that would have rocked the art world. Did his article that claimed a number of the Old Masters had been painted recently by a single hand have anything to do with his death? Powerscourt embarks on an odyssey through a treacherous world of art dealers and picture restorers in pursuit of a master forger. He travels to Sicily where the trail goes cold, but, after the thrills and danger of that wild, lawless isalnd, in a remopte corer of England, the truth is finally revealed.

Rezension: Ah, those gullible new American millionaires of the late 19th century. After first enriching themselves through railroad development, the shipping trade, or other robber-baron enterprises, many sought to manifest their sophistication by purchasing great European works of art. "I suspect we may be at the very beginning of the biggest buying spree in history," remarks one cultural connoisseur in David Dickinson's Death of an Old Master. "For the dealers, the opportunities are huge." And there were still greater profits to be made by purveyors of counterfeit masterpieces, as is made clear in this smartly plotted third mystery (after Goodnight, Sweet Prince and Death and the Jubilee) featuring Lord Francis Powerscourt, a former army intelligence officer who’s now "one of the foremost investigators in Britain."

Powerscourt's interest in the 1899 slaying of leading art critic Christopher Montague--garroted in his London flat with a piano wire--is simple enough: the dead man was one of his wife Lucy's myriad relatives. But this is no simple homicide. For one thing, all of Montague's papers have disappeared. These include an article he was writing about forged or faked Renaissance paintings--some of which are hanging at the prestigious de Courcy and Piper Gallery. It's a neat little business that partners William Alaric Piper and Edmund de Courcy have been running: With the help of a talented--and captive--young artist named Orlando Blane, they duplicate existing Old Masters, or create new ones in identical style, for sale to foreigners. So was Montague killed to prevent his revealing this epidemic fraudulence? Or was the critic's demise the tragic outcome of his affair with a married woman, whose husband is now missing? Following the garroting of Montague's closest friend, and with a likely innocent man awaiting trial for these murders, Dickinson's aristocratic sleuth begins a chase after answers that will lead him from the Mediterranean island of Corsica to London's hallowed National Gallery and a disheveled dynastic mansion on the Norfolk seacoast.

Dickinson, a former BBC-TV editor, stuffs Death of an Old Master with knowledge about the Victorian art world, yet avoids didactic stuffiness. His focus here is instead on wit, rompish adventure, and a cast memorable for its quirky diversity. Although readers may be hard-pressed to identify the killer in advance, the courtroom resolution to Dickinson's mystery boasts something that's lacking from most of the artistic efforts in this tale: genuineness. --J. Kingston Pierce

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