Title: The Immaculate Deception
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, New York, NY, U.S.A.
Publication Date: 2000
Binding: Hard Cover
Book Condition: Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: Fine
Edition: First Edition.
FINE/FINE unread copy protected by Brodart Archival cover. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 000619
Synopsis: From the acclaimed author of "An Instance of the Fingerpost" ("may well be the best 'historical mystery' ever written," said "The Boston Globe)" comes a luminous new Jonathan Argyll/Flavia di Stefano crime novel set against the richly evocative backdrop of Rome and Tuscany.
In his first new novel since "An Instance of the Fingerpost" became an international bestseller, Iain Pears transports us to Rome, where an impudent thief has stolen a politically sensitive painting on loan from a foreign museum.
Summoned to see the prime minister, Flavia di Stefano, acting head of Italy's Art Theft Squad, is told to retrieve the painting without publicity or payment of ransom. But does the prime minister mean what he says? And why was this particular painting stolen? Faced with a case sure to cause her grief, Flavia turns to her mentor, General Taddeo Bottando, who has a wholly unexpected view of the situation.
Flavia's husband of four weeks, art historian Jonathan Argyll, is busy, meanwhile, with a mission of his own. As a gift to the soon-to-retire Bottando, Jonathan will track down the provenance of a small Renaissance painting, an Immaculate Conception, now hanging on Bottando's wall. Who owned the painting over the years, and how did it come into Bottando's hands?
Flavia's search for an art thief soon becomes a hunt for a killer, while Jonathan's probe uncovers some startling secrets and an unlikely alliance as poignant as it is surprising. Absorbing, witty, ingeniously plotted, "The Immaculate Deception" is stylish entertainment from a justly celebrated author.
Review: A good working rule for the police is to have as little as possible to do with politicians, but Flavia, acting head of the Rome Art Squad, finds herself deprived of that luxury when the Prime Minister involves himself in the case of a painting hijacked for ransom... Iain Pears' new thriller The Immaculate Deception picks up the story of Flavia and her British art-dealer husband Jonathan at a point where they are thinking seriously about the rest of their lives--Flavia is pregnant and Jonathan is in the process of selling off his remaining stock. The last thing they need is for Flavia to find herself at the heart of a major scandal involving illegal handovers of ransom, the last gasp of 1970s terrorism and a performance artist who has drowned in a vat of plaster. Meanwhile, Jonathan sets out to track down an unattributed painting owned by Flavia's former boss, and uncovers some neat little mysteries of his own... Art scholarship and police work are not that like each other, but Iain Pears wittily explores what analogies between them there are; he is intelligent about art, and marriage and Italian politics. This is a worthy addition to a charming series. -- Roz Kaveney
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