THE MUSIC LESSON by Katharine Weber

THE MUSIC LESSON

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A transatlantic thriller from Weber, author of Objects in the Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear (1995), in which Vermeer, the IRA, the Frick, and the Queen of England all becomes implausibly entangled. To most people, the sentence ""You're beautiful"" would imply a human subject, but Patricia Dolan is an art historian who typically finds paintings more vivid than people--and a good deal more reliable. The daughter of a Boston cop, Patricia falls in love with great art on the day her sixth-grade class makes a field trip to the Gardner Museum; from then on, painting becomes her obsession and ultimately her career. Eventually, she becomes a research librarian at the Frick in New York, but when her young daughter dies in a school bus accident, she loses heart and leaves both job and husband and moves to Ireland to forget her troubles. Fat chance of that. In Ireland she has the misfortune of falling in love with her cousin Michael O'Driscoll, 16 years her junior and a member of the IRA. The O'Driscolls are all Fenians from a long ways back, with Michael's Uncle Denis rumored to have been part of the faction that assassinated Michael Collins in 1922. Michael O'Driscoll is part of the Provos, and he comes up with the idea of kidnaping one of the Queen's pictures. That's where Patricia comes in. Through her connections at the Frick, she gets herself appointed as a courier for the National Gallery in London, and it's the easiest thing in the world for her to walk off with the fictitious Vermeer masterpiece, The Music Lesson, instead of returning it to London from a Dutch exhibition. In her cottage along the Irish coast, she sits and waits for the outcome of what turns out to be a more dangerous game than she had bargained for. But at least she has the company of Vermeer's young girl. Taut, quick, and original: A good mix of real suspense with an intelligent story.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1999
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Crown