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 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.
Read an excerpt:
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.
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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Linda Ferreri. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on June 1, 2019 and runs through July 2, 2019. Void where prohibited.