Parks’s cerebral third Morris Duckworth mystery (after 2001’s Mimi’s Ghost) finds the middle-aged Englishman every bit as depraved as his younger self. Having systematically dispensed with members of the rich Italian family he married into, Morris is a respected (if not suspected) member of Verona society. To further ensure his good name, he has conceived a blockbuster art exhibit—Painting Death: The Art of Assassination from Caravaggio to Damien Hirst—whose theme is dear to his heart. Morris relishes the bloody details of each famous masterpiece, since they remind him of his own sociopathic artistry. Faced with a meddlesome museum director while juggling his rebellious children, enigmatic wife, and sexy Libyan mistress, he holds secret consultations with his advisory board: the ghosts of his seven earlier victims. When Morris decides that certain Veronese citizens deserve to die, the local cardinal and the mayor, who are aware of his homicidal predilections, have different ideas. Admirers of Parks’s mainstream fiction should enjoy this black comedy, but mystery fans may find it too wordy and the pace too slow. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/24/2015 Release date: 10/01/2015 Genre: Fiction
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