Loot

Aaron Elkins, Author William Morrow & Company $24 (320p) ISBN 978-0-688-15927-6
April 1945: the German war machine is collapsing, and the Nazis are frantically crowding their stolen art treasures into a secret salt mine in Altaussee, Austria. In the chaos, a truck from one of the convoys disappears. The driver has deserted, hoping to negotiate asylum with the advancing American forces. But a blizzard sets him off course, and he and his loot are captured by a brutal Russian patrol instead. Boston, 50 years later: a gorgeous painting by the Spanish master Velazquez turns up in the pawnshop (""CA$H IN A FLA$H"") of the surprisingly prim Simeon Pawlovsky. Suspicious of the thug who brought it in (""a big scar here, half an ear missing, a busted nose""), Simeon calls his friend Ben Revere, a retired art historian and curator who likes baseball and occasionally moonlights for the police. The next day, Simeon is murdered during an attempt to steal the painting. Motivated by guilt and encouraged by Simeon's fiery niece, Revere goes on a whirlwind search for the provenance of the Velazquez and the whereabouts of the rest of the art aboard the missing truck. In the process, Revere is hired by a wealthy, aging count in Vienna, implicated in the murder of an underworld figure in Budapest and chased by a Russian mafia assassin all over Europe. Revere's combination of high intellect and low pretense makes him an engaging sleuth, and Elkin's (Twenty Blue Devils, etc.) cultural and historical details add savor to this engaging, fast-paced novel. Rights: Karpfinger Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1999
Release date: 02/01/1999
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 978-1-61756-193-1
Hardcover - 441 pages - 978-1-56895-750-0
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