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UNFINISHED PORTRAIT by Anthea Fraser

UNFINISHED PORTRAIT

By Anthea Fraser

Pub Date: June 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7278-6884-8
Publisher: Severn House

Is it coincidence or worse that after one artist dies another disappears?

Rona Parish’s career is in the doldrums. A biographer at a loss for a subject, she’s making do writing minor magazine articles, taking her dog Gus out for walks and admiring the canvases of her artist husband, Max, when a call from the sister of artist Elspeth Wilding rouses her to take on a new project: the life of the acclaimed painter, who disappeared 18 months ago. As she begins to interview the people who were close to Elspeth, Rona finds much to dislike about her subject. Elspeth was demanding and controlling. She always usurped center stage. And she gave her best friend Chloë, another artist, so much grief that she not only dismissed her fiancé Nathan but threw herself under a train afterward. Surprisingly, not all of Elspeth’s relatives think that she’s missing. Her brother and sister-in-law have heard from her, and her assistant has an inkling where she might be. A chance meeting with a billionaire playboy sends Rona searching for Elspeth in Scotland, but not before there’s a murder in Elspeth’s studio and grave suspicions arise about Chloë’s demise. There’ll be a major art scandal before yet another death brings matters to an unhappy conclusion.

Likeable, forgettable Rona (Next Door to Murder, 2008, etc.) is ill-served here by an imploding plotline.