THE HAND OF THE LION by Carolyn Coker


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French art-thief George Tropard, with help from two frightened accomplices and some hired thugs, plans to steal a priceless Egyptian bronze from the store-rooms at St. Mark's Basilica in Venice. How? By kidnapping the little granddaughter of rich American art-collector Connie Gilbert, whose lover Mario Costantino--Director of the Committee for the prevention of Venetian Art--is in a position to have over the bronze. And since Mario is secretly the little girl's real father, he'll be especially vulnerable to kidnap-death threats. When the kidnapping begins, however, on a Florence-to-Venice train, there's a witness: beautiful Andrea Perkins (The Other David, The Vines of Ferrara), who just happens to be on her way to Venice to authenticate that Egyptian bronze. By even feebler coincidence, Andrea's boyfriend, Florence cop Aldo Balzani, is on the trail of Tropard's gang (which has murdered a nun along the way). So Andrea will be in predictable peril when the scheme goes into full gear--with a smidgin of gunplay and a brief gondola-chase finale. Andrea is more innocent-bystander than active participant this time around; the mystery element, too, is even weaker than in previous episodes. In all, then: a pallid addition to a bland damsel-in-distress series--especially since the Italy/art atmosphere is thinner than before, and marred by hilarious gaffe involving the ""intermission"" and ""second act"" of I Pagliacci (which has only one act).

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1987
Publisher: Dodd, Mead