Never Paint a Stranger

Patricia Shaw, Author Tor Books $15.95 (218p) ISBN 978-0-312-93182-7
A fabulous, long-lost triptych made for the last tsar of Russia by the great jeweler Faberge, a wealthy and unscrupulous collector with violent henchmen and a young American artist come together in Basel with predictable results in this mystery/thriller. Successful young painter Hanna Anders arrives in the Swiss city searching for her heritage, hinted at by her dead grandfather, a Russian refugee from the 1917 Revolution. With no real knowledge of what she is seeking, Hanna tries to follow clues about her family's past, then runs afoul of collector Octavian Demopolis, who knows about her connection to the triptych, which he wants to add to his secret collection. Hanna is rescued from Octavian's kidnap attempt by Clete Cross, ostensibly an American banker in Switzerland on business, who is suspiciously interested in her past and present circumstances. While trying to escape both parties, Hanna moves to the house of a family friend, who takes her up into the mountains where the heirloom triptych may be hidden; they are pursued by Octavian and his thugs. In this tired, formula-bound debut, Shaw provides a perfunctory mystery whose depictions of place read as if they came out of a guidebook. ( May )
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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