From the Publisher
“A sophisticated, adventurous, and gripping story that is sure to hold wide appeal.”—Booklist
“The Last Judgement is a joy for readers who enjoy a complex plot set to clever dialogue with the often nefarious goings-on of the international art market as a backdrop.”—St. Petersburg Times
“A witty, exceptionally brilliant puzzler.”—Sunday Times (London)
“The latest (mis)adventure of art historian Jonathan Argyll delivers its plot twists at a rapid clip right up to the closing pages. . .Pears keeps his readers well occupied.”—Publishers Weekly
“[Pears] writes clearly, persuasively and with a hand guided by touches of sentimentality as well as mischief.”—Chicago Tribune
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The latest (mis)adventure of art historian Jonathan Argyll delivers its plot twists at a rapid clip right up to the closing pages, where Jonathan's lover, Flavia di Stefano of Rome''s Art Theft Department, cuts straight to the tale's core of murderous greed. Jonathan agrees to hand-deliver a small, undistinguished painting from a Paris art dealer to Arthur Muller, the buyer in Rome. But in short order, someone tries to steal the painting from Jonathan; Muller is tortured and murdered; a man carrying both Muller's and Jonathan's addresses is also killed; and French authorities demand that Jonathan return the painting, which might be stolen. While Jonathan restores the painting to its rightful owner, who turns out to be a hero from the French Resistance, Flavia discovers that Muller was obsessed with learning about his father-whose own wartime death and Resistance involvement were apparently less honorable. Graced with a sharp intellect and terrier-like tenacity, Flavia charges on, even when Jonathan's courage flags and the French powers-that-be are deliberately unhelpful. By giving his sleuths an ample supply of dirty little secrets to unearth and solve, Pears (The Bernini Bust) keeps them and his readers well occupied. (Apr.)
Jonathan Argyll, British art dealer and sleuth, delivers an obscure 18th-century painting to a Parisian dealer's client in Rome. The client, however, ends up dead. Argyll and his fiance, Flavia de Stefano, pursue the murderer as well as information about the painting. A solidly enjoyable series.
When will Jonathan Argyll learn? This time, the budding international art dealer with a nose for trouble volunteers to deliver a minor French painting to its new owner in Rome, only to find on his arrival that (1) the buyer, Arthur Muller, no longer wants it; (2) by the next day Muller's been tortured and killed; and (3) back in France, the canvas has been reported stolen. Even as Argyll's tracing the painting's ties to the ugly betrayal of a Resistance cell in wartime France, his unofficial fiancée Flavia di Stefano, of Rome's Art Squad, is getting ready, as usual, to save him from his own impetuosityand from more of the worst judgment boasted by any fictional detective outside the funny pages.
Though the flashback to historical intrigue barely 50 years old is something of a novelty for Pears (The Bernini Bust, 1994, etc.), Argyll and Flavia's fourth is as densely plotted as ever.