THE DA VINCI DECEPTION by Thomas Swan

THE DA VINCI DECEPTION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Following The CÇzanne Chase (1997)--the debut of Inspector John Oxby, of C13, the CID’s Art and Antiquities Squad-- Newmarket has reprinted Oxby’s debut, originally published in 1990 as a mass-market paperback. Following three years of intensive preparation, well-fed art dealer Jonas Kalem is ready to offer to the world the discovery he’s long been hinting at: a new page from the sketchbooks of Leonardo da Vinci, with others perhaps to follow. The first drawing, a study for the Mona Lisa accompanied by notes in Leonardo’s distinctive left-handed writing, is worth millions, or would be if it hadn’t been drawn within the month by gifted forger Curtis Stiehl, whose recent release from prison had closed the circle of Kalem’s hand-picked colleagues in the fraud. Retired art historian Giorgio Burri has been waiting to start the ball rolling on authenticating the bogus drawings; unwitting American chemist Eleanor Shepard has been spending a year in Florence looking for likely sources of 500-year-old paper and charcoal; and Kalem’s light-fingered assistant Tony Waters stands ready for whatever crasser skullduggery his boss may command, beginning with borrowing an authentic Leonardo drawing from the Windsor Library so that Stiehl can quickly make a closer study of the master’s technique. The theft from the library goes off with all the clockwork precision of a good TV movie, but an unexpected glitch--the result of a police officer’s incredible indiscretion--brings C13 into the picture for a series of cat-and-mouse chases that range from New York to Lake Como, where a showdown between Oxby’s colleague, Supt. Walter Deats, and Kalem’s troops provides a rousing, if unsurprising, denouement. Crammed with information on everything from Leonardo’s pigments to the Royal Family’s art holdings, though competently colorless in its own dishonor-among-thieves caper. (Book-of-the-Month Club featured alternate selection)

Pub Date: July 1st, 1998
ISBN: 1-55704-352-3
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Newmarket Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1998




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