Southern belle cousins, now players in the New York City art scene, investigate a suspicious death and other strange activities surrounding the sale of rare art prints in Williams’ debut mystery.
Coleman Greene, publisher of ArtSmart magazine, and her cousin Dinah, a Greenwich Village art gallery owner, attend an art print sale at Killington’s, a New York City auction house. A rare print by famed painter and printmaker Winslow Homer, origin unknown, is put on the block and sells for a record amount. The buyer is mysterious billionaire Heyward Bain, who’s arrived in town with his entourage in tow, including the rather smarmy protégée of a London-based art dealer. Bain, it turns out, wants to open a new prints museum in the city. As the mogul snaps up other newly discovered rare prints, Coleman discovers that the seller of the Homer print was found dead the morning of the auction. After a second death occurs, she manages to convince cop-turned–art crime investigator Robert Mondelli to look into the matter. Meanwhile, Dinah’s new husband, a jealous investment banker, conducts his own background check on Bain; Coleman contends with a staff member selling ideas to a competing magazine; and Dinah runs into Maxwell Arnold, a fellow Duke alum who may be a reason why Coleman vowed never to marry. The detailed, somewhat digressive story, with its dizzying array of multiple perspectives and locales, ends with a climactic showdown. Williams, an art historian and print collector, clearly relishes the art-world milieu—even if the art often serves as a mere backdrop to the twisty, exuberant plot. In this first book of a planned series, she depicts a rather charming Sex and the City-like pair that, with some promising supporting characters, is well-primed to paint the town in future adventures.
A colorful start to a new art-world mystery series.