The Raphael Affairby Iain Pears, Daniel Philpott (Read by)
English art scholar Jonathan Argyll was amazed to find himself arrested for vagrancy -- while searching for a long-lost Raphael in a tiny Roman church. Although General Bottando of the Italian National Art Theft Squad has little confidence in Jonathan's theories, Bottando's lovely assistant, Flavia di Stefano, is intrigued by the idea of a lost classic, and by Jonathan himself. But in the midst of the painting's discovery and the resultant worldwide publicity, a new chain of events is set into action. First vandalism, then murder, surround the painting. As as new facts about its true nature emerge, Bottando sends Flavia and Jonathan to investigate -- little knowing that the pair will be on the run for the truth...and for their very lives.
- Oxford, England
- Date of Birth:
- Ph.D., Oxford University
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Iain Pears knows his art world very well, and can communicate it to us non-art-oriented in a fun, lively, and yet intelligent manner. Aspiring art historian Jonathan Argyll might be American, but he is quite at home in Italy. Having him involved with the Art Squad of the Italian police (exists to track stolen art objects, a serious matter there) in the form of Flavia di Stefano makes for a great start in a series that promises to be a lot of fun and also informative. Flavia's boss, General Bottando, is a great sidekick to the gyrations of the other two. Nothing is straightforward, and yet nothing is improbable enough to pull you out of the story with the thought that 'this is outrageous'. I learned about Raphael and Rome and a fascinating slice of Italian culture, and got hold of the second book, "The Titian Committee", as quickly as possible.
Read this art-murder mystery book in connection with a trip to Rome. Hoped it would give me some flavor for the art, history and atmosphere of the city. The book did a bit of that, although not much. Also disappointing was that the book was not particularly well-written, compelling or mysterious. The best part was that it was short, so the ache didn't last long.