Nicholas Kilmer, Author . Poisoned Pen $24.95 (200p) ISBN 978-1-890208-80-6

This fifth novel in Kilmer's (Dirty Linen) Fred Taylor series about artists and their rarified world could, like Lazarus, use a little resurrection. It takes a potentially fascinating story and turns it into a confusing—and occasionally boring—tale of a painter who drops dead at Boston's Logan airport on arrival from Paris. By chance, Fred, a buyer for wealthy art collector Clayton Reed, whom he's meeting in Boston, disembarks from the plane right behind the dead man, who turns out to be eccentric artist Jacob Geist. Fred accidentally picks up Geist's Paris newspaper from the concourse floor. When he arrives at Reed's digs, he and Reed discover a painting secreted between pages of the paper. It looks like a page from a medieval bible, depicting Lazarus arising from the tomb. Reed calls in an art antiquities expert to vet the painting's history, while Fred, the accidental detective, does his best to find out the identity of the painting's owner. Fred's search proceeds in herky-jerky fashion, with able assistance from his lady friend, Molly Riley, a reference librarian and one of the book's bright lights. Despite some good turns of phrase and the Boston setting, the author fails to develop the kind of fluid plot or solid characterization that, say, Robert B. Parker does in his Spenser novels. Artists or art historians may be enthralled, but straight mystery lovers will likely be disappointed by the lack of thrills and substance. (Oct. 1)

Reviewed on: 09/17/2001
Release date: 09/01/2001
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 213 pages - 978-1-890208-90-5
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