The Balmoral Nude

Carolyn Coker, Author St. Martin's Press $15.95 (199p) ISBN 978-0-312-04673-6
As fiction, this fourth book in a series featuring American art historian Andrea Perkins (after The Hand of the Lion ) is a light but interesting read; as a mystery, it lacks suspense: Andrea is just another character caught up in the sometimes predictable circumstances surrounding an art theft and a murder, not a sleuth who discovers important clues. Background to the plot is the 1864 murder of a London prostitute by Cecil Thomas Fetherston, artist, gallery owner and tutor to Queen Victoria. In the present, Andrea's ex-lover Clayton Foley contacts her to authenticate a set of newly discovered drawings by Fetherston, who happens to be a direct ancestor of Foley's wife, Deborah. The sketch Foley gives Andrea is later stolen from her office. Deborah invites Andrea to the family estate for a weekend of work on the sketches and a meeting with would-be purchasers; a thief breaks in, making off with the Balmoral Nude and seriously injuring Deborah. Switches in point of view generate some tension, though some hints as to who's responsible aren't successful and the de rigueur weekend gathering of suspects at the scene of the crime lacks originality. Andrea discovers at the same time as the reader the true inspiration for and creator of the Balmoral Nude. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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