The Raphael Affair

( 4 )

Overview

This is the first of a series of highly knowledgeable detective novels by an art historian about the art world. Set in Rome, it features the perpetually beset General Bottando of the Italian National Art Theft Squad; his glamorous assistant, Flavia di Stefano; and Jonathan Argyll, a British art historian. When Jonathan is arrested for breaking into an obscure church in Rome, he claims that it contains a long-lost Raphael hidden under a painting by Mantini. Further investigation reveals that the painting has ...
See more details below
This Audiobook (Cassette - Unabridged, 5 Cassettes, 6 hrs. 15 mins.) is Not Available through BN.com
Sending request ...

Overview

This is the first of a series of highly knowledgeable detective novels by an art historian about the art world. Set in Rome, it features the perpetually beset General Bottando of the Italian National Art Theft Squad; his glamorous assistant, Flavia di Stefano; and Jonathan Argyll, a British art historian. When Jonathan is arrested for breaking into an obscure church in Rome, he claims that it contains a long-lost Raphael hidden under a painting by Mantini. Further investigation reveals that the painting has disappeared. Then it miraculously reappears in the hands of the top British art dealer, Edward Byrnes. How has Byrnes found out about the hidden masterpiece, and whom is he acting for? There is also the curious matter of the safety-deposit box full of sketches closely resembling certain features of the newly discovered painting. A hideous act of vandalism occurs, then murder. Bottando faces the most critical challenge of his career, and Jonathan and Flavia find themselves in unexpected physical danger.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Associated Press
"Presents a world of the author knows well in the satisfying way Margaret Truman and Dick Francis set their mysteries in milieus they know..."
Sunday Times
"[A] clever thriler...Pears balances politics, love and danger nicely in a plot that has a cunning and satisfactory outcome."
Houston Post
"Masterful and calls for an encore."
The Guardian
"A felicitous first."
Chronikles
"A better debut could hardly have been made..."
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780753113677
  • Publisher: ISIS Audio Books
  • Publication date: 1/28/2002
  • Series: Jonathan Argyll Series , #1
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 5 Cassettes, 6 hrs. 15 mins.
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Iain Pears
Like his popular “art history mysteries,” Iain Pears’s erudite historical novels are as well researched and intricately plotted as they are suspenseful and colorful. With 1998's The Instance of the Fingerpost, his first break from the art-centered Jonathan Argyll series, Pears evoked the most rapturous praise of his career.

Biography

Before 1990, the only book Oxford art historian Iain Pears had published was a history of the arts in 17th- and 18th-century England. But as a Reuters news correspondent in England, France, Italy, and the United States, he had produced articles on everything from soccer matches to stock market reports.

When Pears decided to combine his writing skills with his background in art history, the result was The Raphael Affair, the first book in a series of neatly crafted, highly original "art history mysteries." Packed with fascinating details about art history and juicy tidbits about the art-buying world, the series revolves around British art historian Jonathan Argyll, with Flavia di Stefano of the Italian National Art Theft Squad as his partner in crime-fighting (and eventually in marriage).

The books were a hit with readers and critics of mysteries—Kirkus Reviews called The Bernini Bust (1993) "the cleverest entry yet in this deliciously literate series." Still, Pears remained relatively unknown in the wider literary world until the 1998 publication of An Instance of the Fingerpost. This weighty philosophical mystery novel was compared to Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose in its scope and ambition, and like The Name of the Rose, it was an international bestseller.

In it, Pears "brilliantly exploits the stormy, conspiracy-heavy history of England after the death of Oliver Cromwell to fashion a believable portrait of 17th-century political and intellectual life as well as a whodunit of almost mesmerizing complexity," wrote Richard Bernstein in The New York Times Book Review. Pears's "baroque and ingenious" book (as Andrew Miller called it) relates the murder of an Oxford don from the point of view of four different narrators, only one of them reliable. Along the way, it explores epistemological questions about observation and insight, superstition and science, reason and faith. The 685-page volume sold more than 120,000 copies in hardcover—an impressive figure considering the book's density and subject matter.

The popularity of An Instance of the Fingerpost helped boost sales of Pears' mysteries, and fans of Jonathan Argyll were gratified when Pears brought out another installment in the series, The Immaculate Deception (2000). But readers would have to wait a bit longer for another Pears novel. The Dream of Scipio (2002) was worth the wait. The book weaves together three stories, set in Provence in three different historical crisis points: the end of the Roman Empire in the 5th century; the Black Death in the 14th century; and World War II in the mid-20th century. The stories are linked by a manuscript titled The Dream of Scipio (after Cicero's dialogue of the same name), and by thematic concerns with passion, wisdom and power.

Allan Massie, reviewing The Dream of Scipio for The Scotsman, called it "erudite, even demandingly intellectual…If the highest test of a work of imaginative literature is whether it can make you think and feel at the same time, this novel passes it."

Good To Know

Pears mentioned in an interview that he gave a Harry Potter book to a godchild before Harry Potter became widely known. When his favorite books achieve fame, he added, it's "delightful for the authors, and well-deserved…but I always feel ever so slightly betrayed when one of my private joys becomes public property like that."

In another interview, Pears said he had too many favorite painters to list, but included David Hockney, Nicolas Poussin, and James Whistler as "current favorites."

Read More Show Less
    1. Hometown:
      Oxford, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      1955
    1. Education:
      Ph.D., Oxford University

Table of Contents

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent!

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2010

    Not very well-crafted

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)