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An unsolved murder comes to light after almost seventy years... In 1999, art dealer Alex Clayton stumbles across a lost portrait of Molly Dean, an artist's muse brutally slain in Melbourne in 1930. Alex buys the painting and sets out to uncover more details, but finds there are strange inconsistencies: Molly's mother seemed unconcerned by her daughter's violent death, the m An unsolved murder comes to light after almost seventy years... In 1999, art dealer Alex Clayton stumbles across a lost portrait of Molly Dean, an artist's muse brutally slain in Melbourne in 1930. Alex buys the painting and sets out to uncover more details, but finds there are strange inconsistencies: Molly's mother seemed unconcerned by her daughter's violent death, the main suspect was never brought to trial despite compelling evidence, and vital records are missing. Alex enlists the help of her close friend, art conservator John Porter, and together they sift through the clues and deceptions that swirl around the last days of Molly Dean.


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An unsolved murder comes to light after almost seventy years... In 1999, art dealer Alex Clayton stumbles across a lost portrait of Molly Dean, an artist's muse brutally slain in Melbourne in 1930. Alex buys the painting and sets out to uncover more details, but finds there are strange inconsistencies: Molly's mother seemed unconcerned by her daughter's violent death, the m An unsolved murder comes to light after almost seventy years... In 1999, art dealer Alex Clayton stumbles across a lost portrait of Molly Dean, an artist's muse brutally slain in Melbourne in 1930. Alex buys the painting and sets out to uncover more details, but finds there are strange inconsistencies: Molly's mother seemed unconcerned by her daughter's violent death, the main suspect was never brought to trial despite compelling evidence, and vital records are missing. Alex enlists the help of her close friend, art conservator John Porter, and together they sift through the clues and deceptions that swirl around the last days of Molly Dean.

30 review for The Portrait of Molly Dean

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    When art dealer Alex Clayton discovered the portrait of the young woman, she was determined to keep her interest low-key. If any of her rival dealers knew of her interest, she would be sure to lose out - at the very least, the price would be much higher at the auction. But buy it she did - immediately she began to investigate the life and brutal death of Molly Dean back in 1930 in Melbourne. Alex and her friend, art conservator John Porter did much research into the unfortunate young woman's shor When art dealer Alex Clayton discovered the portrait of the young woman, she was determined to keep her interest low-key. If any of her rival dealers knew of her interest, she would be sure to lose out - at the very least, the price would be much higher at the auction. But buy it she did - immediately she began to investigate the life and brutal death of Molly Dean back in 1930 in Melbourne. Alex and her friend, art conservator John Porter did much research into the unfortunate young woman's short life, and what they found was disconcerting to say the least. The fact that almost seventy years later and Molly's murderer had never been held to account, piqued their interest. Could Alex discover the murderer after all this time? The fact that the lead Detective into Molly's death, Percy Lambell, was intensely frustrated with a case he couldn't solve was evidenced by his daughter, Daphne, whom Alex met up with and they discussed it at length. Would Molly Dean's murder remain unsolved? The Portrait of Molly Dean by Aussie author Katherine Kovocic is an intense and gripping historical mystery which kept me enthralled. Based entirely on fact - Molly Dean was indeed murdered in Melbourne in 1930 and her case remains unsolved - the complete aspect of The Portrait of Molly Dean is a fascinating story which is told in 1930 by Molly and 1999 by Alex. Plus the author's notes at the end give more, interesting detail. Thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended. With thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for my digital copy to read and review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Phrynne

    This turned out to be a very enjoyable piece of historical fiction based on a factual murder which happened in Melbourne in 1930. The Portrait of Molly Dean is written in two time periods, Molly's story in 1930 and Alex's hunt for clues about the painting and the mystery behind it in 1990 when it turns up in an auction house for sale. I found both stories equally interesting although I think Alex won the award for the best character. I loved her relationships with her Irish Wolfhound and with Joh This turned out to be a very enjoyable piece of historical fiction based on a factual murder which happened in Melbourne in 1930. The Portrait of Molly Dean is written in two time periods, Molly's story in 1930 and Alex's hunt for clues about the painting and the mystery behind it in 1990 when it turns up in an auction house for sale. I found both stories equally interesting although I think Alex won the award for the best character. I loved her relationships with her Irish Wolfhound and with John the art restorer. There were some very entertaining interactions and some funny dialogue. Katherine Kovacic managed to present a very plausible explanation for what may have occurred in 1930 although the truth will probably never be known. I believe this is her debut novel. She writes well with a very readable style and I look forward to more books from her in the future. Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book

  3. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    In her debut novel, Katherine Kovacic has woven a very absorbing mystery around the real events surrounding the death of Molly Dean, a young teacher and aspiring writer, in 1930. Her murder in a Melbourne laneway shocked society at the time and was never solved. Although the police had evidence pointing strongly towards a suspect he was inexplicably never brought to trial. In this re-imagining of the events leading up to Molly's murder, Alex Cole an Art dealer spots a portrait of Molly Dean pain In her debut novel, Katherine Kovacic has woven a very absorbing mystery around the real events surrounding the death of Molly Dean, a young teacher and aspiring writer, in 1930. Her murder in a Melbourne laneway shocked society at the time and was never solved. Although the police had evidence pointing strongly towards a suspect he was inexplicably never brought to trial. In this re-imagining of the events leading up to Molly's murder, Alex Cole an Art dealer spots a portrait of Molly Dean painted by her lover, artist Colin Colahan at an auction and knows it will be worth quite a bit once she has it restored and finds out a bit more about it's story. Her investigations lead her to the fictional daughter of the detective assigned the case and eventually to the seamy underbelly of Melbourne in the 1930s. Told in two time frames from Molly's and Alex's point of views, the author has set the scene perfectly both for the bohemian art world of the 1930s and the restrictions that Molly felt as a women who must make her own way in the world and Alex's world of art history, auctions and restorations in the 1990s. With thanks to Netgalley and Bonnier Publishing Australia for an advance copy of the book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    4 star contender for my 2018 favorite reads Perhaps my first time reading a book about Australia that dabbles with the Melbourne art scene. Katherine Kovacic 's debut novel The Portrait of Molly Dean is a dual narrative that switches from the 1990's to the 1930's and surrounds the real life murder of an aspiring female writer that was the subject of a popular art work. I absolutely devoured this book in one sitting, but must confess that it was the gripping mystery style narrative with Alex Clay 4 star contender for my 2018 favorite reads Perhaps my first time reading a book about Australia that dabbles with the Melbourne art scene. Katherine Kovacic 's debut novel The Portrait of Molly Dean is a dual narrative that switches from the 1990's to the 1930's and surrounds the real life murder of an aspiring female writer that was the subject of a popular art work. I absolutely devoured this book in one sitting, but must confess that it was the gripping mystery style narrative with Alex Clayton that held my attention the most. I cannot say that I was a big fan of the flighty Molly Dean, but I do like what KK does with her story. I will definitely be looking out for the author's next book. Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced ebook in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews

    * https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.com This is our introduction to the infamous Molly Dean, seen through the eyes of Alex Clayton, an art dealer in the year 1999. The Portrait of Molly Dean is a multi time frame re-imagining of the tragic true story of Mary (Molly) Winifred Dean. For Molly met her death in November, in the year 1930, in a dark laneway in Melbourne. Molly was brutally attacked and left for dead. Her attacker was never brought to justice. In this debut novel by Australian author K * https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.com This is our introduction to the infamous Molly Dean, seen through the eyes of Alex Clayton, an art dealer in the year 1999. The Portrait of Molly Dean is a multi time frame re-imagining of the tragic true story of Mary (Molly) Winifred Dean. For Molly met her death in November, in the year 1930, in a dark laneway in Melbourne. Molly was brutally attacked and left for dead. Her attacker was never brought to justice. In this debut novel by Australian author Katherine Kovacic, Molly’s life and times are brought to the forefront, alongside art dealer Alex’s relentless search for the truth behind Molly’s murder. Decades after the murder of Molly Dean took place, it is placed in the spotlight again thanks to the investigation work of art dealer Alex Clayton. When Alex comes into contact with a lost portrait of Molly Dean, she is immediately sent on intense search for the truth to discover more about the mysterious Molly Dean. It is an investigation that turns up lots of pathways and hidden truths. These include important missing documents and suspects that were never officially charged. Bouncing back and forth to Molly’s last days in 1930, through to the work of Alex in 1999, with the help to two allies, Molly’s incredible but ultimately sad story is unveiled. The final results are surprising. Melbourne, the art world, a murder mystery, a deliberate concealment of facts and a historical crime marks the first novel by Katherine Kovacic. For a first time novelist, the subject matter is both ambitious and intriguing. The use of a dual time narrative is utilised to full force, heightening Alex’s current day investigations and reinforcing the tragic final moments of Molly Dean’s life in the past. Kovacic succeeds in balancing her novel’s past and present day timelines well. The Portrait of Molly Dean flowed to perfection and the rolling pace of the book ensured that I remained faithful to this book until the very end. I just had to know what happened to Molly Dean, and who was responsible for her untimely death! I have a weakness for art world novels and this one was no exception. The Australian art world is a fascinating sphere and I enjoyed Kovacic’s portrayal of the Bohemian set of Melbourne in decades past. Kovacic is mindful of her time period and setting of her past narrative. Kovacic has produced a plausible piece of piece of writing that had me speculating a great deal about Molly Dean and her life. After reading The Portrait of Molly Dean I realised just how much the Australian based art world is a source of great interest and an area that I want to do some further reading on. I particularly liked the employ of various key art world figures that populated the Melbourne art set and Molly Dean’s world. Molly’s story is a sad one, and through the compelling past narrative we come to know her frustrations with her life as woman in the 1930s. We learn about her unsatisfying first career as a teacher and her aspirations to be officially recognised as a writer in the literary world. Molly also struggles to gain the upper hand over her cruel mother and throughout the book she struggles to avoid entering in a marriage with her mother’s dubious choice of suitor. We learn of Molly’s love and her work sitting for painter Colin Colahan. Molly comes across as figure that we feel immense sympathy for. There is just so much sadness and unfulfilled potential that surrounds Molly Dean’s short life. In the 1999 based narrative, we have Alex Clayton, the art dealer, driving the events of the novel forward to the pivotal revelation at the end. I enjoyed getting to know Alex. Alex is genuine, clever and her determination to get the bottom of truth surrounding Molly was admirable. I appreciated her interactions with John Porter, a friend and art conservator. These two were a great team. Alex’s dog is delightful and adds something extra to the 1999 storyline. What appealed to me most about this storyline was the dogged determination of Alex to honour Molly in her own way. It made this book a special one indeed. A book that is based on the real life and unsolved murder case of a promising young Australia woman in bound to draw curiosity. I really appreciated Katherine Kovacic’s treatment of this case and her depiction of Molly Dean. The ending was completely fitting and made me feel a great sense of ease for the heart I had invested in this novel. The Portrait of Molly Dean is a terrific novel that would do well with readers of art history, true crime enthusiasts and historical fiction lovers. *I wish to thank Allen & Unwin for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes. The Portrait of Molly Dean is book #5 of the 2019 Australian Women Writers Challenge

  6. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

    4.5★s “The painting is filthy and the varnish has discoloured to a nasty yellow, which is probably part of the reason Lane & Co. has failed to recognise the artist. But I can see the jewel tones beneath the dirt, and as I gaze at the lovely young woman with her short dark bob and mischievous brown eyes, I know I am staring into the face of Molly Dean.” The Portrait of Molly Dean is the first novel by Australian veterinarian, art historian and author, Katherine Kovacic. When art dealer Alex Clayton 4.5★s “The painting is filthy and the varnish has discoloured to a nasty yellow, which is probably part of the reason Lane & Co. has failed to recognise the artist. But I can see the jewel tones beneath the dirt, and as I gaze at the lovely young woman with her short dark bob and mischievous brown eyes, I know I am staring into the face of Molly Dean.” The Portrait of Molly Dean is the first novel by Australian veterinarian, art historian and author, Katherine Kovacic. When art dealer Alex Clayton manages to buy, at the bargain price of $3000, a heretofore unknown portrait of Molly Dean by Colin Colahan, her plan is to clean it up, find it some provenance, add some interest with a backstory, then move it on for a sizeable profit. Provenance proves impossible, but the backstory will do: Molly Dean was murdered is a Melbourne back lane in November 1930. But as she checks the facts and does some research, Alex becomes intrigued by the circumstances of Molly’s death. Missing documents are a puzzle. And it seems someone rather badly wants to have the portrait. Or do they just want Alex not to have it? What secrets might it hold? The novel is split into two time periods, with the 1999 first-person narrative giving Alex’s point of view, while the 1930 third-person is from Molly’s perspective. Basing her tale on real-life events, Kovacic sticks fairly closely to the known facts about Molly Dean’s death, but she fills out the main historical characters, giving them life. She gives the reader a plausible version of the events preceding Molly’s death, and throws her present-day characters into a fascinating adventure. Kovacic’s knowledge of art history and conservation is apparent in every chapter: she manages to subtly include in the story a wealth of art-related information without ever boring the reader. Her characters are well rendered: Molly, determined to better her situation; Alex, intrigued by the unsolved murder; John, providing support and a sounding board for Alex. The banter between the latter two is delightful. These two, and Hogarth, are characters of whom readers would enjoy seeing more. An impressive debut. With thanks to Echo Publishing for this copy to read and review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Thebooktrail

    Visit the locations in the novel There’s something deliciously fascinating about murder mysteries based on or inspired by real life cases. This one, set in the art world, goes that extra level, recreating the 1930s art world of Melbourne, the fate of a wanna be writer and the murder which follows. Talk about interesting! An impressive and very well written and captivating read. now I've had time to think about it more: I must admit I’d never heard of Molly Dean and am so pleased I have now. Its no Visit the locations in the novel There’s something deliciously fascinating about murder mysteries based on or inspired by real life cases. This one, set in the art world, goes that extra level, recreating the 1930s art world of Melbourne, the fate of a wanna be writer and the murder which follows. Talk about interesting! An impressive and very well written and captivating read. now I've had time to think about it more: I must admit I’d never heard of Molly Dean and am so pleased I have now. Its not just the mystery which enthralled me but the entire art world of 1930s Melbourne. The writing was assured and confident and the dialogue was also very realistic which really made the novel shine for me. A writer who is murdered for apparently stumbling on a dangerous plot? Which is stranger again fact or fiction? I was captivated throughout this Melbourne set mystery, totally immersed in time and place and the wonderful atmospheric world of art

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Taking real life events and fictionalizing them is nothing new. Done right these stories can intrigue and enthrall as we the reader see how writers fill in the gaps that history has not answered. That is very much the case with Katherine Kovacic's evocative interpretation of the time leading up to the brutal murder of schoolteacher and aspiring writer, Mary “Molly” Dean in Melbourne in 1930. Her death has remained to this day unsolved and is the perfect backdrop for what is a great blend of the Taking real life events and fictionalizing them is nothing new. Done right these stories can intrigue and enthrall as we the reader see how writers fill in the gaps that history has not answered. That is very much the case with Katherine Kovacic's evocative interpretation of the time leading up to the brutal murder of schoolteacher and aspiring writer, Mary “Molly” Dean in Melbourne in 1930. Her death has remained to this day unsolved and is the perfect backdrop for what is a great blend of the past creatively being brought to life. In 1999, art dealer Alex Clayton will buy an obscure portrait painted by a well known 1930's artist Colin Calahan. Alex specializes in buying dirt cheap then selling for big profits and sets out finding out more about the subject. She knows the women's name as Molly Dean who died nearly 70 years ago and after looking further she will find a lot more than she bargained for. For one a mystery person is desperate to buy the piece at any cost from her, and after she and her restorer friend John Porter do some more digging what they will find will paint an image of an ambitious girl who inadvertently put herself at odds with a powerful figure. Interwoven with the modern day we have Molly who due to financial constraints is forced to live with her overbearing and untrusting mother. Working currently as a teacher, Molly longs for an exciting life as a writer and mix with her bohemian friends like Colin. In a bid to try and get her feet in the door for a career as a journalist Molly will try and get information on a local businessman who has somehow stayed out of the limelight. But as she begins her investigations Molly will soon realize there is a reason this man does not want his dirty laundry aired in public and that she has effectively signed her own fate. Reading The Portrait of Molly Dean it is not hard to feel a connection between our two female protagonists. While nothing can be done for Molly, the persistence of Alex to find some form of closure for someone who never received justice is beautifully crafted. With themes of love, longing independence, mystery, corruption, and murder, this is an awesome blend of fact and fiction that paints a vivid life extinguished and the means we will go to in a bid to find the truth.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    A book not for me. Struggled all the way through it and did not enjoy the story nor did I feel anything for the characters.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    Perfectly plotted and well-paced, this piece of speculative fiction is set in the Melbourne fine art scene. Author Katherine Kovacic seems to really know her stuff, too. Centred around the historical murder of artist's muse, Molly Dean, the story alternates between 1999 and 1930. In 1930, schoolteacher Mary 'Molly' Dean yearns to become a writer and is taking steps towards a change of career. Her lover, the artist Colin Colahan, is holding back from giving her the full support she needs to make s Perfectly plotted and well-paced, this piece of speculative fiction is set in the Melbourne fine art scene. Author Katherine Kovacic seems to really know her stuff, too. Centred around the historical murder of artist's muse, Molly Dean, the story alternates between 1999 and 1930. In 1930, schoolteacher Mary 'Molly' Dean yearns to become a writer and is taking steps towards a change of career. Her lover, the artist Colin Colahan, is holding back from giving her the full support she needs to make such an enormous change. Perhaps it's because his thoughts are full of the portrait of Molly that he has only just completed? Meanwhile, in 1999, art dealer Alex Clayton spots an unattributed Colahan portrait come up at auction, and manages to pick it up at a bargain basement price. She's pretty sure the portrait is of Molly Dean, and sets out to research Molly's story in order to create interest in the painting and boost the eventual re-sale value. It doesn't take long for Alex to realise there's a lot more to Molly's murder than meets the eye. The historical, factual elements of this story are fascinating and Kovacic has found a way to skilfully deliver them as a juicy, twisty mystery. I really enjoyed the story, but at the same time I also learnt a bit about the Melbourne art scene of the 1930s. PS - Love the cover! With thanks to the publisher and to Netgalley for a copy to read and review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    When a woman comes across a rare portrait by a long ago artist, she is instantly intrigued by her history. Her name was Molly Dean. She was a young woman aspiring to be a writer but she was also the lover of the artist who painted her. Until one night in November, when she was brutally murdered. So this begins Alex's research into finding out what happened to Molly but someone else is wanting that painting, badly. Told through Alex's and Molly's POV, the story unfolds with mystery and intrigue. When a woman comes across a rare portrait by a long ago artist, she is instantly intrigued by her history. Her name was Molly Dean. She was a young woman aspiring to be a writer but she was also the lover of the artist who painted her. Until one night in November, when she was brutally murdered. So this begins Alex's research into finding out what happened to Molly but someone else is wanting that painting, badly. Told through Alex's and Molly's POV, the story unfolds with mystery and intrigue. I throughly enjoyed this novel. It's a great debut novel and I would definitely read more from this author. *Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Karen ⊰✿

    In 1999, art dealer Alex Clayton picks up an unknown painting, that she believes is that of Molly Dean from 1930, painted by a famous artist. If she can prove the provenance then the painting will be worth much more than she pays for it, and so she starts to hunt around into the history of Molly Dean. Molly was sensationally killed in Melbourne in 1930 and not only was her murder never solved, but it seems that there was really no attempt to solve it. Kovacic takes this idea and invents a plausib In 1999, art dealer Alex Clayton picks up an unknown painting, that she believes is that of Molly Dean from 1930, painted by a famous artist. If she can prove the provenance then the painting will be worth much more than she pays for it, and so she starts to hunt around into the history of Molly Dean. Molly was sensationally killed in Melbourne in 1930 and not only was her murder never solved, but it seems that there was really no attempt to solve it. Kovacic takes this idea and invents a plausible explanation, for which then our protagonist herself becomes slightly obsessed with discovering. I enjoy historical fiction, and it is always interesting to me when writers take real figures and events and tries to fictionalise them. We will probably never know the truth of what happened to Molly Dean, but I thought Kovacic made a good story around one of the theories. I especially liked the insight into the art world, Alex's character and her friendship with John, but there were a few parts of the story that felt more like plot devices and inconsistent with what I would have expected the characters to do. The story does alternate between 1999 and 1930, but I never really felt a grasp on Molly's character and I think some further development there would have really helped the story and enabled the reader to feel as passionate and empathetic as Alex Clayton did towards her. This was an interesting topic for a first novel and I would recommend it to historical fiction fans. I look forward to seeing what Kovacic writes next. 3.5 stars Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

    4 stars I read the Kindle edition. Alex Cayton, an art buyer, locates a 1930 painting by Colin Colahan. The painting is of his paramour and muse, Molly Dean. Ms. Dean was murdered. No one was ever brought to justice. On 21 November 1930, Mary “Molly” Dean was murdered. The lead investigator was Senior Detective Percy Lambell. He apparently had a suspect, but they were let go without a trial. We then go back to 1930 and a typical day in the life of Molly. She is a schoolteacher and writer. She is a 4 stars I read the Kindle edition. Alex Cayton, an art buyer, locates a 1930 painting by Colin Colahan. The painting is of his paramour and muse, Molly Dean. Ms. Dean was murdered. No one was ever brought to justice. On 21 November 1930, Mary “Molly” Dean was murdered. The lead investigator was Senior Detective Percy Lambell. He apparently had a suspect, but they were let go without a trial. We then go back to 1930 and a typical day in the life of Molly. She is a schoolteacher and writer. She is a dreamer who hopes she will become famous. Alex receives a telephone call from the auction house. It seems they have a very angry man who gave a false name and address and he wants the painting very badly. When Alex goes to the archives, she learns that the whole fie on Molly Dean is missing, the police documents, coroner’s report, everything but the death certificate. It appears to have been stolen. As she gets ready to leave, the archivist happens to mention that Daphne Lambell was the last to request the file in 1958. It was missing already then. Daphne Lambell must be a relation to Percy Lambell, the detective who investigated the murder in 1930. It turns out that Daphne is the daughter of the police detective and when Alex calls her they agree to meet. Daphne has a remarkable memory and tells Alex the story of Molly Dean as her father told her. Daphne tells Alex that Molly’s mother was completely unconcerned about her death. She even asked the police not to bother with an investigation or an arrest. She tells her about Adam Graham, the main suspect in the case. Alex’ friend John Porter is an art conservator. She decides to go to him to talk over the case. John comes up with some wild ideas and he and Alex have a laugh. Meanwhile, Alex gets a commission to inventory an art collection. When she brings one of the paintings home with her, she gets assaulted. Only her Irish wolfhound’s intervention saves her. The case is getting odd. Molly gets an idea for an article. She will interview the reclusive Donald Raeburn. He’s a mover and shaker who rarely appears in public. She wonders what his connection is to General Thomas Blamey, the chief of police who is rather shady. Molly thinks there must be something more about the man that readers would like to know. She goes to his house and he is polite, but doesn’t call her back. She gets the idea to interview instead those who know him. Along the way, she picks up some nasty stories about Mr. Raeburn. She goes to see him again and the interview doesn’t go at all like she had hoped. Raeburn threatens her and throws her out of his house. What really happened to Mary “Molly” Dean? Who killed her? This book is based on a real story that will forever be a mystery in Australian history. The book is well written and plotted with colorful characters. Alex and John’s relationship was warm and friendly, but not much background was given on either character, so I didn’t really get a sense of them as a person. I enjoyed the book. It was a good read. This novel is a very good debut for Katherine Kovacic. I look forward to reading more of her work in the future. I want to thank NetGalley and Bonnier Publishing Australia/Echo for forwarding to me a copy of this good book to read and enjoy.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Carol - Reading Writing and Riesling

    Brilliant!!!!! I predict awards!!! More soon My View: What an outstanding read! In this book you will EXPERIENCE history, art, mystery, murder... When I picked up this book I was enthralled by the cover art and then I started reading! I hadn’t read but a page or two and I KNEW this book was going to feature on my “Best Reads 2018”. Fantastic writing, locations that leap of the page. An era that is succinctly captured; the socio economic environment, the mores, the fashion, the corruption, and the a Brilliant!!!!! I predict awards!!! More soon My View: What an outstanding read! In this book you will EXPERIENCE history, art, mystery, murder... When I picked up this book I was enthralled by the cover art and then I started reading! I hadn’t read but a page or two and I KNEW this book was going to feature on my “Best Reads 2018”. Fantastic writing, locations that leap of the page. An era that is succinctly captured; the socio economic environment, the mores, the fashion, the corruption, and the abuses of power. This novel is intriguing, you will devour the pages till the revealing end. Plus I loved the characters. And the dog.  Encore! More!!!!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kristie

    This was an interesting visit to the 1930s as well as the art world of 1999. We get to see an art dealer learning about a portrait of Molly Dean while learning about Molly Dean herself. I thought the story was fun and it kept my interest, but some parts of the story felt forced. There were points were it just felt a bit unrealistic and even the main character was trying to come up with excuses to explain her behavior. It wasn't anything out of the ordinary, just some basic plot devices that made This was an interesting visit to the 1930s as well as the art world of 1999. We get to see an art dealer learning about a portrait of Molly Dean while learning about Molly Dean herself. I thought the story was fun and it kept my interest, but some parts of the story felt forced. There were points were it just felt a bit unrealistic and even the main character was trying to come up with excuses to explain her behavior. It wasn't anything out of the ordinary, just some basic plot devices that made you think who in their right mind would do that. Otherwise, I liked the main character and enjoyed going along for the ride with her and even more so with her awesome dog, Hogarth, and her best friend, John. They were just great characters. Molly Dean was a little less relatable, but it was still interesting to visit the time period. I thought this was a great book for a debut and I'll be interested to see what the author does in the future. 3.5★ Thank you to NetGalley and Bonnier Publishing Australia for providing me with a free electronic copy in exchange for an honest review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    KarenK

    I received this from netgalley.com in exchange for a review. A 70 year old unsolved murder comes to the attention of art dealer Alex Cayton, who happens to stumble across a lost portrait of Molly Dean. Alex's timeline (1999) read like a police procedural and I had a problem accepting Alex as the pseudo detective. Molly's timeline (1930) was a little more interesting simply because it was the older timeline. I didn't connect with any of the characters and felt like I was on the outside looking in I received this from netgalley.com in exchange for a review. A 70 year old unsolved murder comes to the attention of art dealer Alex Cayton, who happens to stumble across a lost portrait of Molly Dean. Alex's timeline (1999) read like a police procedural and I had a problem accepting Alex as the pseudo detective. Molly's timeline (1930) was a little more interesting simply because it was the older timeline. I didn't connect with any of the characters and felt like I was on the outside looking in as a casual observer. 3☆

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer (JC-S)

    ‘Lane & Co. think they have a portrait of a pretty but unknown girl by an unknown artist.’ An unsolved murder is at the centre of this accomplished debut novel by Katherine Kovacic. In the early hours of 21 November 1930, Mary (Molly) Winifred Dean was brutally murdered in a laneway in Elwood, Melbourne. Molly was a young teacher and an aspiring author. While the novel re-imagines events leading up to Molly’s murder, Ms Kovacic starts her novel by working back from the discovery of a painting in 1 ‘Lane & Co. think they have a portrait of a pretty but unknown girl by an unknown artist.’ An unsolved murder is at the centre of this accomplished debut novel by Katherine Kovacic. In the early hours of 21 November 1930, Mary (Molly) Winifred Dean was brutally murdered in a laneway in Elwood, Melbourne. Molly was a young teacher and an aspiring author. While the novel re-imagines events leading up to Molly’s murder, Ms Kovacic starts her novel by working back from the discovery of a painting in 1999. Alex Cole is an art dealer who believes she has found a painting of Molly Dean by her lover, artist Colin Colahan. Alex buys the painting, knowing that it will be worth considerably more once she can have it restored and establish its provenance. Alex’s path leads her to the daughter of the detective who investigated Molly’s murder in the 1930s. The story unfolds over two timeframes: Molly’s in 1930, and Alex’s in 1999. In Molly’s world, we are reminded of the restrictions that applied to most women trying to make their own way in the world. We also get a glimpse of the bohemian lifestyle of some in the art world at the time. In Alex’s world, we see a different perspective of the art world almost seventy years later: restorations, valuations, establishing provenance. But Alex wants to find out more about the painting, about what happened to Molly. And there are certainly many inconsistencies and some curious aspects to the investigation undertaken in the 1930s. And in the present? Someone else is also after the painting of Molly. At the end of the novel, Ms Kovacic provides a set of author’s notes distinguishing fact from fiction. I was grateful for those notes (and glad I read them at the end of the novel). Why at the end? Because I didn’t need to differentiate fact from fiction until the end. In my reading, most of Ms Kovacic’s novel was entirely plausible and I enjoyed reading it. Recommended. Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Bonnier Publishing Australia for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes. Jennifer Cameron-Smith

  18. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    4.5* https://greatreadsandtealeaves.blogsp... My Thoughts ‘My interest in Molly Dean’s portrait may have started as a way to bump up the value, but this is more of a story than I ever expected.’ For a debut novel, this was really engaging and highly commendable. A dual time narrative with an intense and absorbing mystery, revolving around factual events from Australia in the early 1930s. Molly Dean, an aspiring writer but working as a school teacher, was brutally murdered in a Melbourne laneway and 4.5* https://greatreadsandtealeaves.blogsp... My Thoughts ‘My interest in Molly Dean’s portrait may have started as a way to bump up the value, but this is more of a story than I ever expected.’ For a debut novel, this was really engaging and highly commendable. A dual time narrative with an intense and absorbing mystery, revolving around factual events from Australia in the early 1930s. Molly Dean, an aspiring writer but working as a school teacher, was brutally murdered in a Melbourne laneway and her case remains unsolved to this day. There were suspects and a trial even organised but it all amounted to nothing. What Katherine (author) has done here is indeed very clever. In one timeline, she has reimagined events leading up to the death of Molly and in the 1999 timeline has a fictional Art dealer, Alex, uncovering the portrait of Molly and researching the background behind the artwork. Alex’s initial intention was to just increase the painting’s value by restoring the work and providing provenance with the background story. Except Alex became involved in the history surrounding the portrait. So on the one hand you have Molly wonderfully detailing life in Melbourne of the 1930s (loved reading about my home city - from tram rides to Luna Park) and living a bohemian lifestyle with Colin Colahan (actual painter) - then Alex in 1999 providing a fascinating insight into art auctions, restorations and the like. Sounds intriguing - and it is! Katherine has done a marvelous job of both timelines. Her art knowledge in terms of history and conservation is clearly evident and most enlightening. The range of characters (both real and fictional) are well formed -from the 1930s and Molly’s mother and Adam Graham brought to life, to the 1990s fictional Alex with the highly amusing inclusion of her friend John and ever faithful Hogarth (dog). The banter between Alex and John is fun, which serves to highlight how the author brings light and shade to the intriguing novel. If you like a good mystery then the unique appeal of this one is the central plot based around factual events. I love historical fiction and the gripping mystery around poor Molly Dean, her life goals and eventual murder is fascinating. I appreciated the ‘Author’s Notes’ at the end detailing what was fact and what was fiction. A very engaging read that I highly recommend. This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Living in an area that's got more than it's fair share of talented artists, there's something strangely appealing about crime fiction set in the art world. (I'm not implying anything about the people that live here, nor their likelihood of becoming victims and/or perpetrators). But it's a little mined area of interest, and in Katherine Kovacic's novel, THE PORTRAIT OF MOLLY DEAN, it's gold. Molly (Mollie) Dean was a real person, teacher, writer, poet, artist's model and lover of Meldrumite painte Living in an area that's got more than it's fair share of talented artists, there's something strangely appealing about crime fiction set in the art world. (I'm not implying anything about the people that live here, nor their likelihood of becoming victims and/or perpetrators). But it's a little mined area of interest, and in Katherine Kovacic's novel, THE PORTRAIT OF MOLLY DEAN, it's gold. Molly (Mollie) Dean was a real person, teacher, writer, poet, artist's model and lover of Meldrumite painter and Melbourne art world identity Colin Colahan. (For more on her see A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA). Combining her true life story, of which little is known, with a current and fictional past is a brave undertaking, and it's very well envisionaged here. Starting out when art dealer, and free spirit herself, Alex Cayton stumbles across a lost portrait believed to be of Molly Dean, which she subsequently buys, and then sets out to uncover more details about the origins of the painting and Molly herself. Interspersing that with chapters from Molly's perspective, Kovacic builds a possible explanation of Molly's death that ties in with the details that Alex discovers in the current day. Potentially slightly messy, it's seamlessly and rather elegantly done. Part of what makes it all work is the dual echoes - the characters of Alex and Molly have some believable synergy to them - both individuals, both strong, both determined. The current day investigation uncovers clues and insights into Molly's murder, as Molly herself moves inexorably to her fate. Both these women are engaging, both of them quirky, both of them daft and clever all at the same time. This plot device just flat out works. After reading Gideon Haigh's true account of Mollie Dean's life and death (the aforementioned A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA), there is much that remains unknown about Mollie and her murder to this day. His book almost invites the reader to draw their own conclusions from a scant but compelling set of clues, and Kovacic seems to be doing just that. Creating an immensely readable, thoroughly entertaining novel along the way. https://www.austcrimefiction.org/revi...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Em__Jay

    Books like THE PORTRAIT OF MOLLY DEAN ticks many of the things I love to read in fiction. There’s a mystery to solve, it takes place in the art world, it’s based on a true story - a crime that remains unsolved - and there’s a sympathetic protagonist. What I love about books like this is our lead character, Alex Clayton, is passionate about her subject and takes the effort to research and dig deeper into a story that many others in her field would have ignored. As an art dealer, we get to see Ale Books like THE PORTRAIT OF MOLLY DEAN ticks many of the things I love to read in fiction. There’s a mystery to solve, it takes place in the art world, it’s based on a true story - a crime that remains unsolved - and there’s a sympathetic protagonist. What I love about books like this is our lead character, Alex Clayton, is passionate about her subject and takes the effort to research and dig deeper into a story that many others in her field would have ignored. As an art dealer, we get to see Alex juggling her professional and ethical responsibilities; from buying and selling artworks (be it a gallery or a back alley) to researching using all manner of sources and playing mind games with other dealers in the hopes of getting her hands on artworks before other dealers and at a reasonable price. A girl’s got to make a living, you know! The book moves between 1999 when Alex is investigating Molly’s murder and 1930 when we get to see life through Molly Dean’s eyes. I enjoyed taking the trip back in time, and being familiar with Melbourne, I felt I was on this journey with both Alex and Molly. Overall a highly enjoyable featuring a great central character (Alex) along with her wonderful companion, Hogarth, a Great Dane dog and her art restorer friend, John. As I write this, book two in Alex Clayton Art Mystery series has been released and I am on my library’s waiting list to pick it up.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lee

    Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me a copy to read. Alex Clayton is an art collector who finds a painting of Molly Dean, a woman who was brutally murdered in 1930. Upon collecting this piece, Alex dives in to figure out more about Molly's life. This novel moves between Alex researching Molly's life in 1999 and Molly herself in 1930. The first couple of chapters are slow and a little hard to get into as it is setting up Alex's background. For me, the story started to take of Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me a copy to read. Alex Clayton is an art collector who finds a painting of Molly Dean, a woman who was brutally murdered in 1930. Upon collecting this piece, Alex dives in to figure out more about Molly's life. This novel moves between Alex researching Molly's life in 1999 and Molly herself in 1930. The first couple of chapters are slow and a little hard to get into as it is setting up Alex's background. For me, the story started to take off during Molly's first chapter and continued to get better after that. It left me wanting to continue to read and never put it down. It's a wonderful debut novel that leaves me excited to see what else Kovacic will write.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    Based on a true story this was well done. It wasn’t too long and kept me engaged throughout.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Scatterbooker

    I've been obsessed with books set in the 1930s lately, so I was instantly intrigued by The Portrait of Molly Dean when I discovered that it's a true murder mystery set against the background of Melbourne's bustling art scene in 1930. The Portrait of Molly Dean is based on a real unsolved murder. Molly Dean was brutally murdered in Melbourne in 1930. She was a beautiful and popular artist's muse who was determined to break out of her complicated home life and make a name for herself as a writer bu I've been obsessed with books set in the 1930s lately, so I was instantly intrigued by The Portrait of Molly Dean when I discovered that it's a true murder mystery set against the background of Melbourne's bustling art scene in 1930. The Portrait of Molly Dean is based on a real unsolved murder. Molly Dean was brutally murdered in Melbourne in 1930. She was a beautiful and popular artist's muse who was determined to break out of her complicated home life and make a name for herself as a writer but her murder was never solved and she was almost forgotten. This novel imagines what might have happened in Molly's last days via the fictional investigations of an astute Melbourne art dealer who snaps up Molly's portrait in 1999 for a bargain. As Alex and her art conservator friend investigate the painting and the mystery surrounding the death of Molly Dean, they discover that there were many inconsistencies surrounding the investigation and that there are still people out there who will do whatever it takes to make sure that the truth remained hidden. There really isn't anything that I didn't love about this book! Both the 1930 and 1999 timelines were full of distinctly timely and Melbourne features and I also found the art history fascinating. Molly was such an interesting character that I found myself invested in finding out what happened to her. I feel like I could have been great friends with her. And I loved Alex Clayton the sassy art dealer and will be adding the rest of the Alex Clayton art mystery series to my TBR list!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Angelique Simonsen

    I wanted to find out what happened but I didn't want the story to end. Molly Dean was a very interesting and strong woman who I enjoyed reading about. I wanted to find out what happened but I didn't want the story to end. Molly Dean was a very interesting and strong woman who I enjoyed reading about.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kimberley

    Couldn't put this one down - Perfectly executed "faction" Couldn't put this one down - Perfectly executed "faction"

  26. 5 out of 5

    Genevieve

    In The Portrait of Molly Dean we learn the story of Mary (Molly) Dean, school teacher and aspiring writer, who was living in Melbourne in 1930 when she was brutally attached and murdered. The foundation of the book is based on the true and known facts of Molly’s life and the attack that resulted in her death. A creative scenario that explains the unknown elements has been woven into the story to provide us with an enthralling novel. Molly’s story is presented to us across two time frames, one in In The Portrait of Molly Dean we learn the story of Mary (Molly) Dean, school teacher and aspiring writer, who was living in Melbourne in 1930 when she was brutally attached and murdered. The foundation of the book is based on the true and known facts of Molly’s life and the attack that resulted in her death. A creative scenario that explains the unknown elements has been woven into the story to provide us with an enthralling novel. Molly’s story is presented to us across two time frames, one in 1930 and the other in 1999 and we switch between the two regularly throughout the book. In 1930 we meet Molly who is working as a teacher in North Melbourne while she, in her spare time, pursues her ambition to be a writer and journalist. Her private life is spent living in a cold and antagonistic home environment with her mother who appears to have been bizarrely obsessed with Molly. She escapes her home life as often as possible to spend time with her partner, the artist Colin Colahan, and his diverse group of friends. While this satiates her need for creative and intellectual stimulation she is not fully accepted by Colin’s circle of artistic friends. Add to this her working life, where she is dissatisfied and unfulfilled by her teaching role yet not fully established as a writer, and you get the impression of Molly being isolated in her life. As I progressed through the novel I found this sense of Molly’s isolation increasing disquieting. I found Molly an appealing and engaging character. She is passionate in the pursuit of her ambition to be a writer, resourceful and determined to succeed. She has a bold, exuberant and strong personality. Yet we also get to see her vulnerability and naivety throughout the novel. The second time frame in the story is set in 1990 when art expert, Alex Clayton, discovers an unattributed painting she believes to be a portrait of Molly Dean painted by Colin Colahan. Having acquired the painting at an auction she starts to research Molly’s life in the hope that the story will boost the value of the paining when it’s sold on. The more she delves into the story the more determined she becomes to find out what happened to Molly and uncover the identity of the murderer. She is accompanied along this path by her friend John, an art conservator, and her loyal and protective four legged companion, Hogarth, an Irish wolfhound I found both Molly and Alex strong and instantly likeable characters. I loved the banter between Alex and John and I couldn’t help but appreciate the contribution Hogarth made to the story. This is one of those books that had me online researching the details of Molly’s life and the events around her death and the subsequent police investigation. I always enjoy books that inspire me to delve further into the history of their story. I was hooked by half way through the second page of this book and it continued to capture my attention right through to the end. This is such a rare experience for me. A brilliant read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany Marin

    **FTC DISCLAIMER: I RECEIVED AN E-ARC FROM NETGALLEY IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. RECEIPT OF THIS BOOK IN THIS MANNER DOES NOT AFFECT MY OPINION OF THE BOOK OR THE CONTENT OF MY REVIEW.** In 1999, art dealer Alex Clayton stumbles across the lost portrait of Molly Dean, an artist’s muse who was brutally slain in Melbourne in 1930. This results in an unsolved murder being brought to light after almost seventy years. Alex buys the painting and, initially begins to research Molly’s death in an e **FTC DISCLAIMER: I RECEIVED AN E-ARC FROM NETGALLEY IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. RECEIPT OF THIS BOOK IN THIS MANNER DOES NOT AFFECT MY OPINION OF THE BOOK OR THE CONTENT OF MY REVIEW.** In 1999, art dealer Alex Clayton stumbles across the lost portrait of Molly Dean, an artist’s muse who was brutally slain in Melbourne in 1930. This results in an unsolved murder being brought to light after almost seventy years. Alex buys the painting and, initially begins to research Molly’s death in an effort to increase its value for when she sells it. But as she sets out to discover more details, she’s confronted with strange inconsistencies. For instance, Molly’s mother seemed unconcerned by her daughter’s brutal murder, the main suspect was never brought to trial despite a good deal of compelling evidence, and vital records have gone missing. Alex goes to her close friend, art conservator John Porter for help in discovering what happened to Molly and together they sift through the clues and deceptions that make up the mystery of Molly’s last days. I have to admit that I’m very impressed with Katherine Kovacic’s debut novel. She showed an immense amount of talent and I could tell that she either was very well versed in the art history of Australia or she did a huge amount of research, or maybe a combination of the two. She was able to weave that information throughout her novel in a way that enhanced the storyline, rather than distracting from it. The story alternates points of view between Alex’s in 1999 and Molly’s in 1930, in the days leading up to her death. Again, this is where the author shows the amount of research that went into this novel. Because even though she did use some creative license, which she disclosed everything she added at the end of the book, she largely kept to the timeline of Molly’s last days, to the point of incorporating some of the last things people remembered Molly saying. The entire storyline was intriguing and kept me guessing and I honestly enjoyed every moment. I certainly hope that this won’t be the author’s only book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Narrelle

    Real life is often an inspiration for fiction. Some real events resonate so strongly they inspire a lot of different ways to filter and explore the event, its social context and its repercussions. The 1930 Melbourne murder of schoolteacher and aspiring writer, Mary "Molly" Dean, is one such event. It's referenced in George Johnston's My Brother Jack, in the memoir of Betty Roland, who knew Dean, and in the 2002 play Solitude in Blue. Poignancy and a mysterious fascination were lent to Dean's grisl Real life is often an inspiration for fiction. Some real events resonate so strongly they inspire a lot of different ways to filter and explore the event, its social context and its repercussions. The 1930 Melbourne murder of schoolteacher and aspiring writer, Mary "Molly" Dean, is one such event. It's referenced in George Johnston's My Brother Jack, in the memoir of Betty Roland, who knew Dean, and in the 2002 play Solitude in Blue. Poignancy and a mysterious fascination were lent to Dean's grisly death by the fact that it remains unsolved, and that she was in a relationship with local artist, Colin Calahan, and had been the subject of two of his paintings. I knew none of this when Echo Publishing sent me a copy of Katherine Kovacic's The Portrait of Molly Dean, except for the fact it was based on a true event. I resisted any research in favour of just taking in the story as presented. Kovacic's debut novel is a marvellous blend of history and invention and uses the notions of art restoration as an effective narrative device to reveal her invented version of the truth. It begins in 1999 when art dealer, Alex Clayton, buys the Colahan portrait of Molly Dean at an auction. Clayton specialises in finding artworks that have been obscured or underappreciated, buying them cheap, restoring them and proving their provenance, and re-selling at a considerable profit. Her initial aim to research a little about Molly Dean's death to make the picture more attractive to buyers (everyone loves a good murder mystery) becomes almost a compulsion. Shocked to learn the trial for the only suspect was abandoned on the day it was due to begin, she starts to investigate the 70 year old mystery herself. While her friend John Porter begins to slowly clean the portrait and bring long-lost Molly back into the light, an unknown person is trying to obtain the painting from her. Clayton's investigation, told in the present tense, is interleaved with the story set in the 1930s, of Molly's constrained life at home with her mother, her ambitions to become a journalist and novelist, and the night of her murder. This 1930s story is, like the portrait in 1999, is slowly revealed, with care and attention to detail. As Alex explores the case and potential killers, the details of Molly's life are slowly revealed. It's an elegant little leapfrog progress, where each woman's narrative reveals just enough to fuel the next act. Modern Alex's independence, backed by John and her dog Hogarth, is a complement to and a contrast with doomed Molly's determination to break free from her awful mother's house and assert her own independence. The two women are very different but they have a kinship, and it's easy to get emotionally connected to them both. While there's nothing to be done about Molly's fate, Kovacic cleverly entangles the reader into concern for Alex, whose investigations are of clear concern to someone from the past. Kovacic's style is clean and well-paced, and she manages to give the 1930s and the 1990s each a different feel without being jarring or sacrificing clarity or pace. There's texture and pathos in this story, as well as courage and surprises. Kovacic is careful to point out in the afterword of The Portrait of Molly Dean that her resolution to the mystery is her own invention. But it's a good one, in a well-told story, and a very satisfying read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kerrie

    The author tells us in notes at the back of the book that "The events in this novel are based on the 1930 murder of Mary 'Molly' Winifred Dean... While Alex Clayton and her contemporaries were all entirely fictitious, most of Molly's close associates were real people." So I guess you would label this as "faction" - a true crime, a real setting, but many fictitious characters, and action, and an imagined resolution. I initially found the book slow reading - I attributed that to a style that made yo The author tells us in notes at the back of the book that "The events in this novel are based on the 1930 murder of Mary 'Molly' Winifred Dean... While Alex Clayton and her contemporaries were all entirely fictitious, most of Molly's close associates were real people." So I guess you would label this as "faction" - a true crime, a real setting, but many fictitious characters, and action, and an imagined resolution. I initially found the book slow reading - I attributed that to a style that made you want to ensure that you understood everything. We knew from the very beginning that Molly had been murdered. The action comes in two time frames: 1999 when Alex Clayton buys a painting and decides to find out more about the subject Molly Dean; and 1930 before Molly died. The text switches back and forth as we weigh the evidence that Alex gives us. Here is chance to get in on the ground floor of a new Australian series with an intriguing pair of investigators. Two more titles have been published to date, and I shall certainly be following them up.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    4.5 ***** There was something about this book I loved, the first chapter or so I wasn't sure, there was lots of talk about different artists and technical talk but once I got past that I was hooked and found it hard to put this down I was so engrossed in the mystery surrounding Molly Dean. I totally enjoyed the dual timelines, reading Molly's story set in 1930 and Alex's hunt for the truth in 1999. The fact it was based around a true murder mystery seemed to draw me in further, pulling me to kee 4.5 ***** There was something about this book I loved, the first chapter or so I wasn't sure, there was lots of talk about different artists and technical talk but once I got past that I was hooked and found it hard to put this down I was so engrossed in the mystery surrounding Molly Dean. I totally enjoyed the dual timelines, reading Molly's story set in 1930 and Alex's hunt for the truth in 1999. The fact it was based around a true murder mystery seemed to draw me in further, pulling me to keep reading. I love what Katherine has done by pulling the evidence of the crime together with a narrative of what Molly may have been thinking and doing at the time of her murder. I also have gained an interest in art and might just go to a gallery and enjoy looking at some of the artists she mentions. I highly recommend this novel. Thanks to Netgalley and Bonnier Publishing Australia for a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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