cover image Playing the Game

Playing the Game

Barbara Taylor Bradford, St. Martin's, $27.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-312-57808-4

In her 26th book Bradford (Breaking the Rules) embraces all the tropes of the rags-to-riches story. Although London art consultant and dealer Annette Remmington has been thoroughly educated about art by her controlling, much older husband, Marius, it's the sale of a long-lost Rembrandt for the staggeringly high sum of $20 million pounds that ultimately brings her fame. When other paintings in the seller's collection are found to be fakes, however, and Annette's newly minted rep is seriously threatened, she enlists gallery owner Malcolm Stevens, a protégé of her husband, for advice. When Marius persuades a reluctant Annette to be interviewed by a rising young journalist in order to create interest in her next auction, the decision reveals a tortured childhood for Annette and a serious criminal past for Marius. A contrived denouement, trite prose, heavy-handed foreshadowing, and too many subplot tentacles will deter all but the most loyal Bradford fan. (Oct.)