THE BALMORAL NUDE by Carolyn Coker


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In her fourth outing, art-restorer Andrea Perkins, an American whose expertise has called her to Venice, Ferrara, and Florence, is now consulting in London when she's asked to clean up some sketches that wealthy Deborah Foley inherited from a distant relative--Victorian artist, gallery owner, and art teacher Cecil Fetherstone (his pupils: Victoria and her beloved Prince Consort). Then Andrea's coshed, a grab is made for a sketch, and when she and her glibly cheerful assistant agree to do the restoring at the Foley country digs, more trouble lurks: Deborah's husband is Andrea's college lover Clayton, a rouÉ; a biographer of William Gladstone seems determined to own those sketches; an American couple also seem overeager to have them. Furthermore, gallery manager Sybil Forbes is having problems with security; the house party is turning into a shambles; and several hints are dropped that one of those Fetherstone sketches is really by his Royal pupil Victoria--and in it she pictured herself on the naked lap of her adoring love, perhaps Balmoral servant John Brown. Deborah is attacked and almost dies before Andrea pieces together the story of the ""Balmoral nude,"" then heads for a rendezvous with Aldo, her Italian policeman boyfriend. Engaging damsel-in-distress tale, with a feisty heroine, dandy details on how to clean up Victorian artwork, and offhand witticisms from unflappable art assistant Henry. A return to top form for Coker.

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 1990
Publisher: St. Martin's