Commissioned to authenticate a rare painting before its auction, art investigator Harry Leblanc attempts to find out how a painting originally residing in the homes of Italian nobility ended up in the hands of Roberta Champman, a black cleaning woman from Harlem.
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The best novel so far from Tine (Midnight City, 1986, etc.): a richly colored suspenser about an all-black US Army unit in Rome in 1944, just after the Nazis have left. Art investigator Harry Leblanc is hired by art-dealer Peony Seagrave to look into the provenance of a valuable 17th-century painting by Guido Reni that has turned up in Harlem and been offered to her for disposal by Roberta Chapman, a cleaning woman and granddaughter of the late James Holt. The work is authentic, but how did Holt come by it? Leblanc's hound-doggery leads him into the novel's main subject--Rome's WW II black market and how Holt's black army unit found itself tied into the illegal dealings of its white sergeants and its no-good rich-boy lieutenant, Austin Kinney, the company's second-in-command. The ringleader of the black-market operation is Sgt. Eddie Manganaro, a hood with a lust for Mafia ties--and here he is, on the home grounds! Not that he hasn't made his bones back in the States, with his specialty, an ice pick into the ear. Manganaro draws Lt. Kinney and two fellow noncoms, McManus and Utterback, into an arrangement he's made with Rome's top Mafia boss, Lorenzetti, who sneers at Manganaro's Sicilian ties back home. They will deliver $15,000 worth of hams, canned goods, etc., to Lorenzetti's black-market warehouse once weekly. The sergeants and Kinney, however, have no intention of paying their drivers from the all-black Heavy Transport Division, and instead try to strong- arm the blacks--who, including Private James Holt, rob the secret cache of the sergeants and Lt. Kinney and refuse to return what they've stolen. Then the most foulmouthed, hate-spieling sergeant freezes one of the blacks in a freezer and a bloodletting bedlam erupts. Tightknit all the way, with strong characterizations, terrific dialogue, and a grand sense of street-life in a starving Rome. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Tine ( Midnight City ) transcends the thriller genre with this riveting tale of an all-black American unit of the quartermaster corps during the liberation of Rome in 1944. In present-day New York City, the elevator operator in a posh apartment building asks an art dealer resident to evaluate a painting left to his mother--a black hospital worker who lives in Harlem--by her father, James Holt, who had been a career soldier. When the painting turns out to be an extremely valuable work by a 17th-century Italian master, the dealer hires art investigator Harry Leblanc to trace its provenance so that it can go to auction. After securing Holt's army record, Leblanc seeks out the witnesses to the single questionable action in Holt's otherwise exemplary career. The story, unfurling mainly in flashback, is a deft depiction of wartime Rome. Holt's black unit, run by white non-coms with Mafia connections and a blue-blood lieutenant with a yen for fast cash, is quick-marched into the Roman black market. Tine blends impoverished Italian nobility, Army bureaucrats, South African bigots, eccentric Brits and Holt, with his demand for dignity and justice, to yield a rich palette. A genius at characterization, he indelibly etches the personalities of this wildly diverse cast of players.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description St Martins Pr, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good++ DJ. First Edition NL with 1. St Martins Pr 1992 First Edition NL with 1 New/Very Good++ DJ Unread. Minimal edgewear to jacket. Bookseller Inventory # 281599
Book Description St Martins Pr, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0312069073
Book Description St Martins Pr, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0312069073