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The Raphael Affair

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English art scholar Jonathan Argyll was amazed to find himself arrested for vagrancy-while searching for a long-lost Raphael in a tiny Roman church. Although General Bottando of the Italian National Art Theft Squad has little confidence in Jonathan's theories, Bottando's lovely assistant, Flavia di Stefano, is intrigued by the idea of a lost classic, and by Jonathan himsel English art scholar Jonathan Argyll was amazed to find himself arrested for vagrancy-while searching for a long-lost Raphael in a tiny Roman church. Although General Bottando of the Italian National Art Theft Squad has little confidence in Jonathan's theories, Bottando's lovely assistant, Flavia di Stefano, is intrigued by the idea of a lost classic, and by Jonathan himself. But in the midst of the painting's discovery and the resultant worldwide publicity, a new chain of events is set into action. First vandalism, then murder, surround the painting. And as new facts about its true nature emerge, Bottando sends Flavia and Jonathan to investigate--little knowing that the pair will be on the run for the truth... and for their very lives.


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English art scholar Jonathan Argyll was amazed to find himself arrested for vagrancy-while searching for a long-lost Raphael in a tiny Roman church. Although General Bottando of the Italian National Art Theft Squad has little confidence in Jonathan's theories, Bottando's lovely assistant, Flavia di Stefano, is intrigued by the idea of a lost classic, and by Jonathan himsel English art scholar Jonathan Argyll was amazed to find himself arrested for vagrancy-while searching for a long-lost Raphael in a tiny Roman church. Although General Bottando of the Italian National Art Theft Squad has little confidence in Jonathan's theories, Bottando's lovely assistant, Flavia di Stefano, is intrigued by the idea of a lost classic, and by Jonathan himself. But in the midst of the painting's discovery and the resultant worldwide publicity, a new chain of events is set into action. First vandalism, then murder, surround the painting. And as new facts about its true nature emerge, Bottando sends Flavia and Jonathan to investigate--little knowing that the pair will be on the run for the truth... and for their very lives.

30 review for The Raphael Affair

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Keeten

    ”But she was most struck by the reaction from the audience. They were not admiring the delicacy of the brush strokes, the masterly application of shading or the subtleties of the composition, that was certain. They were ogling. Not a usual reaction for connoisseurs. She herself was caught up in the enthusiasm. The picture, both in its history and subject, was extraordinarily romantic. This most beautiful woman, nearly half a millennium old, had been lost for nearly three hundred years. It could ”But she was most struck by the reaction from the audience. They were not admiring the delicacy of the brush strokes, the masterly application of shading or the subtleties of the composition, that was certain. They were ogling. Not a usual reaction for connoisseurs. She herself was caught up in the enthusiasm. The picture, both in its history and subject, was extraordinarily romantic. This most beautiful woman, nearly half a millennium old, had been lost for nearly three hundred years. It could hardly fail to capture the imagination.” Elisabetta. She was made famous by being the subject of a painting by the celebrated artist Raphael...or was she? A woman still beautiful even in a modern sense with fine lines and none of the heft of the Madonnas common to that period. Portrait of a Woman (1507) Raphael. Jonathan Argyll after doing his usual slap dash, but generally brilliant research was arrested poking around a church. He was looking for evidence that a hidden Raphael existed. Through some deft behind the scenes maneuverings the art in question lands in the hands of a famous; and yet, slightly odorous art dealer Edward Brynes. If Will Brynes were a fictional character instead of a great reviewer on GR Edward would most assuredly be his Uncle. Argyll is left sitting on a back bench wondering how he brought the painting to everyone’s attention, but somehow has been left out of any compensation. He is an academic and totally unsuited to survive even the dipping of a toe in the turbulent waters of high finance. The Italian government dismayed at all the Italian art that continues to be sold to the United States, to Japan, and to Britain decides that it will pay any price to keep this Raphael from leaving the country. Italy wins or do they lose? Argyll after more indepth research realizes that he may have made a mistake. Byrnes, out of some sort of guilt or possibly with the intent to keep an eye on Argyll offers him a much needed scholarship that allows him the means to return to Italy. Circumstances quickly spin out of control and Argyll finds himself being pushed to do proper research by the lovely Flavia di Stefano, a member of the Italian Art Theft Squad. She, unfortunately, sees the hapless Argyll as more of an amusing friend than as a potential lover. She might even think he is cute. Which as any man knows once he is labelled as such that it is all over. He has no chance of ever being seen as the masculine, knee trembling, paragon of sexual desire. Iain Pears includes some rather interesting explanations about how art forgery is accomplished. A brilliant forgery is in many ways more of a work of art than the original. An expert forger really has to be the master of many crafts. If he is the best no one will ever know his name. The speculation of what is real and what is fake of the thousands (millions) of pieces of very important art hanging in famous museums all over the world is interesting to contemplate. Luckily I do not have a professional eye that has to ponder the probabilities. I can enjoy a fake as much as an original. I’ve already ordered book two in the series. I hear the books only continue to get better as Pears settles into the characters he has created. Maybe Flavia will learn to see Jonathan as something more than just cute.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jaya

    3.5 stars Art. History. Art History. Art theft. Forged art. Murder Whats not to like? This book was right up my alley. I loved reading about all the technical details of how the forgery was carried out. Is it actually probable? Who knows, am just an art enthusiast. The narrative might seem a bit jarring to some but I had no issues as this was a short and fast paced book and I was not in a mood for some long drawn writing anyway. A perfect reading material for a slightly chilly, cloudy, cheerless Su 3.5 stars Art. History. Art History. Art theft. Forged art. Murder Whats not to like? This book was right up my alley. I loved reading about all the technical details of how the forgery was carried out. Is it actually probable? Who knows, am just an art enthusiast. The narrative might seem a bit jarring to some but I had no issues as this was a short and fast paced book and I was not in a mood for some long drawn writing anyway. A perfect reading material for a slightly chilly, cloudy, cheerless Sunday. Parts of it did feel inane, like some old school comedy movie (view spoiler)[ Like, our protags, hiding in a toilet to catch hold of the perpetrator, where the M lead fails in his attempt and gets beaten up to top it all. But he ultimately saves the day. (hide spoiler)] . M lead, is no gun toting alpha male in fact he is quite a gamma one, but WTH, I enjoyed reading about all his antics and blunders. I would recommend this book to all those who like short, fast paced mysteries, unencumbered with elaborate descriptions of police procedures etc. A word of caution, if you you don't like a lot of name dropping; historical information; artists & painters and their references or regional stereotypes, you might like to give this one a pass.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    Pears is a plums. He writes with enviable wit and aplomb, too. We've read maybe thirty mysteries aloud, including some Sayers and Grimes, Elizabeth George and Donna Leon. This was one of our favorites. Like Donna Leon, Pears captures the flavor of Italian bureaucracy, its diffusion of authoritarian sexism combined with a lacing of incompetence; but Pears adds the delicious factor of comparative incompetence between Italy and the UK. Bottando is a fine invention, a bit like Leon's Brunetti in tha Pears is a plums. He writes with enviable wit and aplomb, too. We've read maybe thirty mysteries aloud, including some Sayers and Grimes, Elizabeth George and Donna Leon. This was one of our favorites. Like Donna Leon, Pears captures the flavor of Italian bureaucracy, its diffusion of authoritarian sexism combined with a lacing of incompetence; but Pears adds the delicious factor of comparative incompetence between Italy and the UK. Bottando is a fine invention, a bit like Leon's Brunetti in that both can negotiate the impenetrable bureaucracy, but at some cost, personal and professional. Pears' audience must accomodate a large proportion of the academically trained, those who fantasize that their own specialized knowledge, like Jonathan Argyll's, could be worth millions--or cost one's life. Was it not for this that Yale welcomed Pears into its orchard?

  4. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth (Alaska)

    This is the first in a series from Iain Pears. I think I was lucky to pick it up at the last library book sale, rather than dive into one in the middle of the series. The introduction of Jonathan Argyll was fun. He is lovable in the way you'd love your teenage son. He is brilliant in his own way, but makes mistakes, which he is loath to admit, but does, sheepishly. The other two primary characters are also interesting and I'm hoping they are continued. Pears' prose is above average for the genre This is the first in a series from Iain Pears. I think I was lucky to pick it up at the last library book sale, rather than dive into one in the middle of the series. The introduction of Jonathan Argyll was fun. He is lovable in the way you'd love your teenage son. He is brilliant in his own way, but makes mistakes, which he is loath to admit, but does, sheepishly. The other two primary characters are also interesting and I'm hoping they are continued. Pears' prose is above average for the genre and I would enjoy reading at any time. It isn't so beautiful that you would remark upon it, and not so simple that you feel talked down to. This is a good, solid 3-stars, perhaps higher than middling. I look forward to other installments in the series.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    This is a fun mystery involving the art market in Europe, specifically England and Italy with some offshoots to France and Switzerland. There is fraud, whispers of fake art, death--unexplained, art museums, fraud squads. What more could one want in a fairly quick but full-of-information art mystery. I think I'll try to get to more in the series. This is a fun mystery involving the art market in Europe, specifically England and Italy with some offshoots to France and Switzerland. There is fraud, whispers of fake art, death--unexplained, art museums, fraud squads. What more could one want in a fairly quick but full-of-information art mystery. I think I'll try to get to more in the series.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Karin

    If you like art history and a bit of crime and suspense, read this!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

    Not quite in the same class as Arturo Perez-Reverte's antiquarian mysteries. It is the first of a series however, and Pears would grow as a writer later on. In the meantime we have a twisting tale of art world intrigue that begins to deal with larger topics of the nature of beauty, authenticity and what constitutes a masterpiece, but falls short of really bringing them to life. Instead, we have a neat little mystery, a dose of action and a love interest to boot. In this case the love interest ca Not quite in the same class as Arturo Perez-Reverte's antiquarian mysteries. It is the first of a series however, and Pears would grow as a writer later on. In the meantime we have a twisting tale of art world intrigue that begins to deal with larger topics of the nature of beauty, authenticity and what constitutes a masterpiece, but falls short of really bringing them to life. Instead, we have a neat little mystery, a dose of action and a love interest to boot. In this case the love interest can be forgiven because it serves as the set-up for the rest of series.

  8. 5 out of 5

    aPriL does feral sometimes

    I'm mystified by how there could be a lot learned about art from this first book in this series, but there is a flavor of what kind of traveling and people and art institutions are involved in the selling of art and in the scrum of public display by museums. Everything is introduced a bit bubbly and brief. The characters are a little silly. There is a murder and a short life-and-death tussle which feels peculiar given the light touch throughout, but it is serious for only a page or two. English I'm mystified by how there could be a lot learned about art from this first book in this series, but there is a flavor of what kind of traveling and people and art institutions are involved in the selling of art and in the scrum of public display by museums. Everything is introduced a bit bubbly and brief. The characters are a little silly. There is a murder and a short life-and-death tussle which feels peculiar given the light touch throughout, but it is serious for only a page or two. English art student Jonathan Argyll is obsessed with art and making a name for himself, but he's kind of a Jimmy Stewart comedy idiot in follow-through. Generale Taddeo Bottando is the chubby chief of the Italian National Art Theft Squad, or 'Bottando's Brothel', so-called because eight of the ten researchers he employs are women. He loves art and he works closely with police, museum security and other countries' art agencies. He is not tough or cynical, and he appears to be most comfortable with routine and white collar criminals and the educated upper class. Flavia di Stefano is one of the 'Brothel' and a favorite, being good at her job. Argyll is in pursuit of a Raphael rumored to be hidden under the work of another painter who intentionally covered over the more valuable painting by Raphael with his own landscape in order to avoid Italian taxes and fees upon sending the supposedly less valuable painting out of the country. Bottando and Flavia are given the task to find out what Argyll is up to when his quest appears to concern various museums and art dealers in England and Italy in a bad way. Argyll strikes them as slightly squirrelly, but not criminal; however they continue to monitor and question him. Eventually, the department realizes they can't discount Argyll's theories entirely - and the paintings, as it seems two Raphael's may be involved, and one or both could be forgeries. The mystery chase is on! (view spoiler)[ The ending was a twist involving an original Raphael having been painted over by another, less important, painter, which then, sadly, centuries later, the same painted over Raphael painting was painted over again by a painter faking a Raphael, unaware he had destroyed the original Raphael underneath in preparing the ancient canvas for his forgery. Whew! (hide spoiler)] I'm not really a fan of these characters, but it's a light entertainment of some interest. There is a crisp omniscient point of view that describes characters' actions and feelings with the same arch humor that P. G. Wodehouse used, which makes his books such a delight. However, if this was a movie, I'd say the director used too quick of scene frame cuts in the conversational action. Perhaps the author was being so conservative with words for comic effect and to develop the series' voice, but I needed to reread chapters to make sure I understood what had happened.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Vionna

    A mediocre mystery set in the art world. The main male Italian characters were pompous,egotistical and tiresome. Flavia fairs better, at least she is full of live and uses her intelligence to solve the mystery of the forged painting. I coud not believe that Jonathan Argyll was so naive and downright stupid at times.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kerry

    Very interesting mystery that takes place largely in Rome and concerns a lost Raphael painting that was believed to have been smuggled out of Italy underneath the work of a lesser known artist. Its the first in a series of art mysteries by Pears. I have found Pears writing and stories to be involved and well worth the read (thinking Arcadia and Stone's Fall) so gave this a try. It was a good read but simplistic and the mystery came together quite well but felt a little contrived at times. I felt Very interesting mystery that takes place largely in Rome and concerns a lost Raphael painting that was believed to have been smuggled out of Italy underneath the work of a lesser known artist. Its the first in a series of art mysteries by Pears. I have found Pears writing and stories to be involved and well worth the read (thinking Arcadia and Stone's Fall) so gave this a try. It was a good read but simplistic and the mystery came together quite well but felt a little contrived at times. I felt that Pears wanted to write more about the art and the workings of an art museum in Rome and put together this story to accomplish that. I will go on to read the next in the series just to see how he does and because I love the art aspect and the European atmosphere. So while it was not my favorite Pears it was a good fund read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    pinknantucket

    I received a lot of criticism for my criticism of another of Iain Pear’s books, “Death and Restoration”. Well, this one was better! A lot better – I think because we didn’t have to endure so much of Jonathan Argyll’s “inner monologue” about his ethical dilemmas – he was just a slightly kooky art historian. (And we all know how kooky art historians are). I also enjoyed the plot of this book much more, as it relied more on legitimate historical detective work and less on the philosophical musings I received a lot of criticism for my criticism of another of Iain Pear’s books, “Death and Restoration”. Well, this one was better! A lot better – I think because we didn’t have to endure so much of Jonathan Argyll’s “inner monologue” about his ethical dilemmas – he was just a slightly kooky art historian. (And we all know how kooky art historians are). I also enjoyed the plot of this book much more, as it relied more on legitimate historical detective work and less on the philosophical musings of monks. Oh yes, the plot – I’d like to say, a painting gets nicked and they get it back, but this is not really true!! See, the plot thickens already… The “restorer” in this book wasn’t so much of a tosser as the one in “Death and Restoration”, but did come across as slightly pathetic.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Hayes

    The first in Pears' "Art History" series. Short, sweet, highly improbable at the ending: I mean, really... who is going to believe the final scene in the museum? But it doesn't matter, duzzit? It's fun, and well written, and it takes place in Rome (mostly), back in the days when Rome was still a decent place to live. Very nostalgic. Just what I needed after reading the monster (but gorgeous), The Count of Monte Cristo. The first in Pears' "Art History" series. Short, sweet, highly improbable at the ending: I mean, really... who is going to believe the final scene in the museum? But it doesn't matter, duzzit? It's fun, and well written, and it takes place in Rome (mostly), back in the days when Rome was still a decent place to live. Very nostalgic. Just what I needed after reading the monster (but gorgeous), The Count of Monte Cristo.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    A lucky find when my neighbour let me help myself to her boxes of books she was clearing out. I scored the whole collection & this is the first one, nice & small, fit in the handbag and perfect for a weekend away. A winning trio of Art, Italy and mystery in a tightly written style with interesting characters and a good sprinkling of humour too. Am already starting on the next one. * I would give this 3.5 stars if I knew how to give half a star!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    I picked this audiobook because 1] I really need a story; 2] the art history book I finished indexing last week has inspired to read more about Italian Renaissance art ; and 3] Ralph Cosham (of the Louise Penny books) is the narrator and I love his beautiful voice.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    The plot was mediocre at best, with its "mystery" so thin it failed to captivate or even amuse. However, I liked the descriptions of the art world - if they had any accuracy. I'm coming to think Iain Pears is just not the writer for me. The plot was mediocre at best, with its "mystery" so thin it failed to captivate or even amuse. However, I liked the descriptions of the art world - if they had any accuracy. I'm coming to think Iain Pears is just not the writer for me.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Martha

    4 stars for characters and setting but not 5. This is just a mystery story -not a factual account—and as such not quite worth the effort to follow the machinations involved. Still an ingenious idea

  17. 5 out of 5

    John Alvord

    Great characters, interesting plot shifts, wry humor, with the bonuses of insight in the dodgy world of art collecting and a spattering of cultural history

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ed Mestre

    Several months ago I reviewed Iain Pears’ amazing, complex, quad angled book “An Instance of the Fingerpost”. Seven years earlier he wrote this book, his first. Much to my surprise it was closer to Agatha Christie in spirit than Rashomon. A mystery without a body (at least not for a while) & a young, quirky Brit art historian, Jonathan Argyll, as the main deducer. His deductive skills can be brilliant, but he also says & does some of the dumbest things. Bringing this pale Englishman into sunny I Several months ago I reviewed Iain Pears’ amazing, complex, quad angled book “An Instance of the Fingerpost”. Seven years earlier he wrote this book, his first. Much to my surprise it was closer to Agatha Christie in spirit than Rashomon. A mystery without a body (at least not for a while) & a young, quirky Brit art historian, Jonathan Argyll, as the main deducer. His deductive skills can be brilliant, but he also says & does some of the dumbest things. Bringing this pale Englishman into sunny Italy brings about some very droll moments, more akin to 1950’s Alec Guinness than Monty Python. Things get particularly entertaining when he & lovely Flavia di Stefano, a civilian consultant to the police art squad, come together. Attraction & repulsion ensues. But Pears being Pears there are plenty of complexities here going beyond the Christie blueprint. He takes us into Renaissance art, Italian law enforcement, museum politics, and the Byzantine world of art collectors, dealers, & forgers. The reveal at the end was a bit awkward with a long winded explanation by one of the investigators as to what exactly happened. Well, it was his first book after all & I do know from “An Instance of the Fingerpost” he definitely got not only better, but outstanding. Things are definitely set up for sequels (I believe there are 6 more in the series). I look forward to them for some more fun, Italian art, mystery, & some delightful characters.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Adam Hoss

    Let me start by saying that I love the premise, and I'll almost certainly check out later entries in the series. Pears tells the story of art historian and international man of mystery Jonathan Argyll as he investigates a mystery surrounding a possibly-forged Raphael painting destroyed in a mysterious fire. At first I was surprised this was from the same author as An Instance of the Fingerpost, as the writing is quite amateurish. Turns out it was Pears's first novel. His prose has improved marke Let me start by saying that I love the premise, and I'll almost certainly check out later entries in the series. Pears tells the story of art historian and international man of mystery Jonathan Argyll as he investigates a mystery surrounding a possibly-forged Raphael painting destroyed in a mysterious fire. At first I was surprised this was from the same author as An Instance of the Fingerpost, as the writing is quite amateurish. Turns out it was Pears's first novel. His prose has improved markedly over the years. The Raphael Affair is strange in places. The point of view abruptly shifts mid-scene. We're told a scene in third person limited, listening in on the thoughts of art detective Flavia, then out of nowhere we'll be inside Argyll's head. There are odd sentences as well, for instance "Even had it not been it probably wouldn't have got a reply." Huh? The dialogue is sometimes stiff and cringey. "Yes, boss?" "Shut up, dear." "OK. Sorry."In An Instance of the Fingerpost Pears is able to conjure masterful levels of psychological authenticity and character distinction through use of dialogue. Here he's very much in rough draft form.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Msjodi777

    Didn't realize when I started it how short this book would be, but that's ok. I would say the only problem with this book is that while it is the first of a series, it is the only one in the series that I can find in audiobook format. What a bummer! Jonathan Argyle is a student of art history. He has discovered that an artist named Mantini helped to smuggle a painting by Raphael out of Italy by painting over it. The purchaser had a heart attack, and died before he could take possession of the pa Didn't realize when I started it how short this book would be, but that's ok. I would say the only problem with this book is that while it is the first of a series, it is the only one in the series that I can find in audiobook format. What a bummer! Jonathan Argyle is a student of art history. He has discovered that an artist named Mantini helped to smuggle a painting by Raphael out of Italy by painting over it. The purchaser had a heart attack, and died before he could take possession of the painting and uncover the Raphael so it disappeared. Even though the book is much shorter than most I listen to it is so well done, and so complete that it gets all 4 stars for the writing. As for the narration, well, that is done by the late Ralph Cosham, which is pretty much an automatic star. This one is definitely a 5 star book. Highly recommend it. <><

  21. 4 out of 5

    Libraryassistant

    Probably actually 3-1/2 stars, but this was just such fun! Quirky little twists and turns along with interesting characters, this one pulled me right in. I even found myself casting for the movie I want to see made of it. I kept hearing Jonny Lee Miller as Argyll in my head (though he’s probably too old), and the French art agent clearly looks just like Gerard Depardieu. Haven’t come up with the perfect Flavia as yet, though I could see and hear her perfectly well in my mental cinema... This offe Probably actually 3-1/2 stars, but this was just such fun! Quirky little twists and turns along with interesting characters, this one pulled me right in. I even found myself casting for the movie I want to see made of it. I kept hearing Jonny Lee Miller as Argyll in my head (though he’s probably too old), and the French art agent clearly looks just like Gerard Depardieu. Haven’t come up with the perfect Flavia as yet, though I could see and hear her perfectly well in my mental cinema... This offered a fascinating glimpse into the murky world of art treasures and into Italian bureaucracy. Delicious to discover there are more in the series, too. A few things felt a bit under polished, as series firsts often do, I’m looking forward to these getting even better over time.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kylie Sparks

    My problem with this one had to do with the point of view. It starts off with one character than switches to a second before focusing on Jonathan Argyll the third character. None of the characters are developed much. If you are interested in art, the plot may interest you--I don't have much interest, so it wasn't too exciting for me. It is set in Italy, but the setting isn't vividly described. Pears is best at complex plots, and this wasn't one of his better ones. I may still read the next insta My problem with this one had to do with the point of view. It starts off with one character than switches to a second before focusing on Jonathan Argyll the third character. None of the characters are developed much. If you are interested in art, the plot may interest you--I don't have much interest, so it wasn't too exciting for me. It is set in Italy, but the setting isn't vividly described. Pears is best at complex plots, and this wasn't one of his better ones. I may still read the next installment to see if it gets better.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Barb

    I enjoyed this mystery, it was clever and engaging as were the characters the author created. I loved that the mystery revolved around art theft. I listened to the audiobook and enjoyed the narrator as well. Though I found I had a little difficulty getting the Italian names to stick in my brain. I found I had to jot down notes as I was listening to help me keep them straight. This was a quick and engaging mystery.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Thanks, Mary G for this recommendation. I am now reading the second book in this series and am enjoying the mystery heartily. Pears is a rare combination--an excellent and intelligent writer who can weave a good mystery and develop his characters! Sophisticated and clean! Hoorah!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Vivienne

    I'd had this book for ages and only now picked it up to read. Found it a quite light-hearted mystery with an art history theme. Jonathan Argyll comes across as somewhat bumbling and I rather preferred Flavia. Oh well. It was a quick read and I loved the art history aspect. I'd had this book for ages and only now picked it up to read. Found it a quite light-hearted mystery with an art history theme. Jonathan Argyll comes across as somewhat bumbling and I rather preferred Flavia. Oh well. It was a quick read and I loved the art history aspect.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tess Rafferty

    This is a great book if you have a passion for mysteries, art history and Rome. This series of books transcend the typical mystery fare with complex plots, history lessons and some really unique and entertaining and unique characters. It's a page turner that also makes you think. This is a great book if you have a passion for mysteries, art history and Rome. This series of books transcend the typical mystery fare with complex plots, history lessons and some really unique and entertaining and unique characters. It's a page turner that also makes you think.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sandi

    Set mainly in Rome, the combination of art history and mystery made this a fun audio. The plot was quite twisty, the characters interesting, and the writing was lean with no excess verbiage. The narration by Ralph Cosham was top rate.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    The first in Pears' series featuring Art historian Jonathan Argyll and his carabiniera off-sider Flavia di Stefano. These are quick reads, but well plotted and full of interesting artistic information. The first in Pears' series featuring Art historian Jonathan Argyll and his carabiniera off-sider Flavia di Stefano. These are quick reads, but well plotted and full of interesting artistic information.

  29. 4 out of 5

    gabrielle

    if you love art history & you love mysteries and amazing characters- you will LOVE these Iain Pears' books!! this is the1st one- it's great fun! if you love art history & you love mysteries and amazing characters- you will LOVE these Iain Pears' books!! this is the1st one- it's great fun!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Whitaker

    A really great book shows us how everything is great and worth to die for

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