THE VINES OF FERRARA by Carolyn Coker

THE VINES OF FERRARA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Thanks to busy action and some decent art-world atmosphere, Coker's first romance/suspense outing for Renaissance expert Andrea Perkins--The Other David (1984)--wasn't a total loss, despite rickety plotting and feeble characterization. This time, however, the Italian art-history is thin, precious filler--without nearly enough interest to compensate for an even frailer, far more static storyline. Andrea--a faceless heroine--is now at Ferrara's Gonzaga castle, restoring a group of miniature paintings on oversized tarot cards. She's being wooed by 50-ish Count Geoffredo, childless heir to the Gonzaga vineyards and the family fortune. She's being spooked by Geoffredo's brother Carlo, a wild widower-artist from America (whose entourage includes in-laws, nubile stepdaughter, agent, and private astrologer). She's being haunted, more or less, by the aura of poisoner-supreme Lucrezia Borgia, a Gonzaga ancestress. And after three people in the household die of poisoned wine, Andrea has a showdown with a semi-deranged, utterly unconvincing killer. Too talky and murky for romantic/gothic intensity, too slight and inept for mystery fans--while those who relished the Michelangelo/museum detail in The Other David will find the tarot-card restoration a disappointing follow-up.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1986
Publisher: Dodd, Mead