The Rich and the Profane

Jonathan Gash, Author Viking Books $22.95 (344p) ISBN 978-0-670-88346-2
Perpetually bereft of funds, the rascally Lovejoy once again relies on charm, guile and luck to replenish his supply of groats, make ""smiles"" with various women and keep from getting interfered with by the Plod. Beautiful young Irma Dominick, trained by Lovejoy to steal, gets arrested by the Plod for trying to lift a jug from an auction house. And Irma's aunt Jocina wants Lovejoy to identify antiques that will be sold supposedly to fund a failing priory--whose prior, Lovejoy believes, is ""making smiles"" with Jocina behind her husband's back. That same prior wants Lovejoy to identify antiques that he can sell to support his gambling debts. Reconnoitering the abbey with his pal Gesso, Lovejoy finds a valuable painting that he nicks and disguises. Then, traveling incognito as the famous impresario Jonno Rant, Lovejoy trails Jocina and the prior to the Channel Islands, all the while pretending to set up an entertainment spectacular. But the project is usurped by the real Rant, and Lovejoy's life is threatened by more than one group interested in the painting. With this dervish of comic activity and a romp that ends in a circuslike venue, Gash is in top form. Fans will celebrate Lovejoy's 20th outing (after The Possessions of a Lady, 1996) as a welcome return of one of the most unusual characters in mysteryland. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
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