PICT book reviews

Review of A Cloud of Fraud by Linda Ferreri

Every author has a rhythm to their language that comes from their upbringing and environment. I’m not an exception. Having grown up an American in Canada, I sometimes lapse into the Queen’s English, to the chagrin of American readers, who hear it as pretentious and stilted. Ms. Ferreri, I suspect, learned British English, because that’s what comes through in her dialog and prose. Take this snippet:

“Ah,” she replied. “Jack, yes Jack, well we’re quite divorced you know.”

That is so typically British I nearly laughed out loud (having lived there for 3 years I still have those cadences in my head as well). The only problem is that these are supposed to be Americans talking. Americans don’t talk like that, unless they’re displaced Britons, which I don’t presume every American in the story was supposed to be. I felt that rather than Philadelphia, this should have been set in London, or Coventry, or somewhere else in England.

The parts of the story that took place in Italy, on the other hand, felt acutely authentic. I enjoyed the descriptions of place and the characters seemed more at home in their surroundings. It is difficult to describe paintings in prose, but Ms. Ferreri does an admirable job. I liked Commissario Baldo a lot, but we were beaten over the head with the fact of his estrangement from his wife. A lot of that could have been left unsaid.

I liked Claire a lot and felt that (aside from her improbably British dialog) she was well-developed – perhaps the most well-developed character in the book. She was a little contradictory. For example, she was quite paranoid, but on the other hand agreed to work for Grigory sight unseen without questioning his credentials until she was committed. These minor inconsistencies of character didn’t greatly detract from my enjoyment of the book.

I give A Cloud of Fraud four stars because of the aforementioned issues as well as some distracting head-hopping that occurs at various points in the story. Overall, though, it was a solid read and as educational as it was entertaining. I liked it, and you will too!


A Cloud Of Fraud by Linda Ferreri Banner

 

A Cloud of Fraud

by Linda Ferreri

on Tour June 1-30, 2019

Synopsis:

A Cloud of Fraud by Linda Ferreri

A man is shot dead in front of City Hall in Philadelphia where his family is tangled in a bitter lawsuit. One brave woman, drawn there by a work of art, finds herself following a twisted trail to the hills of Le Marche in Italy to learn why. All the while, the cloud of fraud grows thicker and darker around her. But, as C. S. Forester said, perhaps the scandal of fraud enhances the flavor.

This thrilling story grabs and holds the reader from the first chapter through unexpected twists all the way to the richly satisfying ending. Art expert Claire Bliss and police Comandante Baldo are joined and antagonized by unforgettable characters in both Philadelphia and Italy. The authenticity of Ferreri’s players and their territories give special vibrance to the novel.

Lovers of the Renaissance will be drawn in immediately by the book’s cover, a painting of Mary Magdalene by Carlo Crivelli (ca. 1480) in the Rijksmuseum. Inside the book, a great art crime story unfolds together with a gem of a murder mystery.

A Cloud of Fraud is colorful, fast-moving entertainment.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Published by: Linda Ferreri Trustee
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Number of Pages: 315
ISBN: 978-0-578-47624-7
Purchase Links: Amazon | Kindle | Apple Books | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Early on in the Hard-heads case, at one of the bar association luncheons, Judge Pirandello had positioned himself next to one of his former clerks who was now a successful litigator in the Probate Court. Biggers, by name. There was the introductory chat about the wellbeing of their family members and the joke about the latest case here or there. The dialogue was familiar to both of them. The Hard-heads plaintiff was a problem person, the judge had learned, and he needed to be squashed to put an end to mostly frivolous claims, driven by greed. Everybody in the family knew it, the judge heard. He knew the type. The Probate Court was littered with greedy relatives, angry children with buxom young stepmothers wearing expensive jewelry their fathers had bought. He knew it all. The judge wanted rid of this case, and so he was pleased to learn that it was not worthy of His Honor’s dignified much less close attention. The Hard-heads case had to go.

It would have gone long before now, the judge was thinking to himself as he growled into the cup of black tea, but these damned people had refused to take the hint, refused to be cowed or put in their places. Here and there at the few hearings he had conducted over this motion or that, he had seen a shrug of the shoulders by one or another lawyer.

“What could we do?” They might as well have said that out loud. The judge understood.

His knee was throbbing, but Judge Pirandello refused to have it replaced. The fact that cold weather was coming on made it worse. The goddamned orthopedic surgeon was another money-grubber. Were there no professionals left in his world who were not money-grubbers? He stretched his corpulence forward over the edge of his chair to reach for his footstool, then winced as he elevated the bad leg. He yelled out for Mary to bring him another cup of tea. Then, he opened the enormous file on the small table beside his chair.

In Re the Estate of Seri. He hated even the name. Italian people should not behave in this fashion, he thought. His own father would have come back from the dead to beat the daylights out of his heirs if they had behaved as these people were behaving. Suing one another. Claiming fraud. All of it. Disgraceful, he thought. They were each poised to receive a generous amount of money but no, that wasn’t good enough. As with errant children, the Judge was both angry with and ashamed of the parties.

***

Excerpt from A Cloud of Fraud by Linda Ferreri. Copyright 2019 by Linda Ferreri. Reproduced with permission from Linda Ferreri. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Linda Ferreri

Linda Ferreri is the author of several art crime novels as well as witty illustrated iBooks. She is a highly respected international art law expert who divides her time between the United States and Le Marche in Italy.

Sometimes she says her most amusing book was her first, The King of UNINI, a sophisticated little romance set in Paris.

Catch Up With Linda Ferreri On:
acloudoffraud.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

 

Tour Participants:

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Cy Wyss

I am an author currently residing in the Indianapolis area. I write and review mysteries, thrillers, and science fiction. Sign up for my newsletter at right and get a free short story.

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