Nirgiotis’ (Killer Ants, 2009, etc.) mystery tells a story of intrigue, international extortion and art theft in Chicago, Paris and coastal Greece.
Tom Weslake is intrigued when his lover, Sylvia, tells him about a World War II plot involving international stolen art. It turns out that Sylvia’s boss, Frances, holds the key to the whereabouts of a priceless French necklace (dubbed the French Blue, due to its large sapphires), as well as hundreds of art masterpieces that were stolen, hidden and resold by Nazis during and after the war. As a struggling Chicago ex-cop with an autistic son and bills to pay, Tom’s gears start turning, and he offers Frances his assistance in reuniting the necklace with its original owners—for a small fee. Tom goes to Paris with Frances to bring the necklace to the French government, where he discovers Frances’ true motives for returning the French Blue. As Tom falls deeper into Frances’ web of extortion, several characters, including Sylvia, enter the mix—spurred by the prospects of a cash reward. Nirgiotis, a writer of children’s books, makes a foray into adult literature that proves that he’s a jack-of-all-trades. The novel is well-plotted, save for the last 50 pages or so, in which the story seems a bit rushed, tying up loose ends too quickly in a work with so many characters. The historical background, however, is excellently handled, particularly when explaining how the French Blue and the stolen art came into Frances’ family. Tom could have been depicted as a stereotypical crooked cop, but instead, the author effectively humanizes his character, and readers will likely want things to work out for him.
A gripping, global tale of art thievery.