Canaletto and the Case of the Westminster Bridge

Janet Laurence, Author Thomas Dunne Books $24.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-312-18551-0
The versatile and accomplished author of the Darina Lisle mysteries gets a new historical series off to a propitious start with this engrossing tale. Arriving in 18th-century London in search of greater fame and fortune, Venetian artist Canaletto is twice attacked and robbed--and in both instances is saved by game, determined fledgling artist Fanny Rooker. Unable to locate his contact, Owen McSwiney, the well-respected landscape painter takes temporary residence at the home of Fanny and her brother, Ned, an engraver, and tries to discover the identity of his attacker. As most of London focuses attention on the partly finished Westminster Bridge, Fanny is jailed unjustly, framed in a scheme that involves Ned's wife and her family. Canaletto, hoping to help Fanny, agrees to aid Paymaster General Mr. Pitt in his efforts to discover who is hindering the controversial bridge project. Peopled with intriguing characters, Laurence's exuberant narrative teems with life drawn from all classes of Georgian London, from the whores in a London gaol to the snobby aristocrats whose patronage Canaletto seeks. As the story hurtles toward a finale that includes a hasty marriage and a duel in a church, the personable painter proves an adept detective, employing his skills of observation to uncover corruption and murder. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998
Release date: 07/01/1998
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