Review: Death Of An Art Collector

Death Of An Art Collector –
A Nero Wolfe Mystery

Author: Robert Goldsborough
MysteriousPress.com/Open Road
2019
ISBN #978-1-5040-5754-7

“Death Of An Art Collector” is book fourteen in the Nero Wolfe Mystery series by Robert Goldsborough. The series is meant to be an homage to author Rex Stout, and the original Nero Wolfe mystery series. I am an ardent fan of Rex Stout and the original Nero Wolfe series, and was pleased to see the series continuing. That was before I read this book. I was very disappointed with what I was reading. I have only seen this one other time, and that was when I read two books from an author that I truly admired that were published posthumously. In that case, it was clear that the books were written by someone in the publishing company that had not actually read the authors previous books (this was a series also).

On the pro side, the original character are intact, and no new characters were added. The background, as far as era and the brownstone Wolfe lives in, were reflected realistically. That is about all the pro there is to talk about. Reading other reviews, I see that the original two books in this series were actually interesting and well written. I will go read them. I also see that the series went downhill from there.

This book very much feels like a template that was just filled in. There is no emotion to it, the storyline is good but not presented well, and the dialogue – well, all of the characters sound the same. Very boring.

The working premise is that art collector Arthur Wordell has fallen to his death from the 20th story window of the building he has his office in. Is it an accident, suicide, or murder? Coincidental that Archie Goodwin and his girlfriend attended a dinner at the Guggenheim, and sat at the same table as Wordell and his daughter Nadia, the night before Wordell’s death.

This could have been an interesting book. The Guggenheim wants Wordell’s extensive art collection, Wordell is not fond of the architect’s inclusion of a spiral staircase in the museum, Wordell’s estranged wife wants part of the collection, Wordell is at odds with the individual that he hired to curate his collection … the list goes on! Oh, and Mr. Wordell is notoriously not easy to get along with. And there is no will.

I will say that the ending does tie up the story – no one and nothing is left hanging. I will also say that unless you are an ardent fan of the original series, this book is not for you. It is not well written, will not draw you in, and will basically waste your time.

© July 2019 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.

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Review: The Burglar

The Burglar

Author: Thomas Perry
The Mysterious Press
New York
2019
ISBN #978-0-8021-4679-3

The protagonist in this book is a twenty-four year old woman named Elle Stowell with the unlikely profession of burglary. Elle has a lot going for her – she is short, petite, beautiful, and smart. Why is this important? Elle targets high end homes, and, quite frankly, this allows her to canvas the neighborhoods (primarily as a runner) to see which houses look like a good target. Her size allows her access that bigger people would not have.

This works well for her until she enters the master bedroom (her target in every house, as this is where people tend to keep important items) of a wealthy art dealer, and finds said art dealer and two young women, all three of which have been shot in the head.

Elle is now a target herself, and the chase is on! She has no clue who the dead people were, or why they were murdered. There will be more murders to follow, one a little too close to home. She uses her skills as a burglar and her computer savvy to catch the people behind the murders.

The story has a great plot that technically moves along nicely, but there is a small problem of lack of meaningful dialogue. And one does have to suspend ones view of reality to believe that someone Elle’s age would have the knowledge that she has, and the perspective that she has, at her age. There is little to no emotional content in this book. And the play on her name gets old really, really fast! The ending is anti-climatic, and not really very believable.

This was a fun read for me, but not something that I intend to re-read, as I do with mysteries that I really like.

© June 2019 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission from the author.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Crazy Like A Fox

Crazy Like A Fox

Author: Rita Mae Brown
Ballantine Books
2017
ISBN #978-0399178344

Crazy Like A Fox

“Crazy Like A Fox”, by Rita Mae Brown, is part of the “Sister Jane” series. (Brown also writes the “Sneaky Pie Brown series, and has written several stand-alone books, including “Rubyfruit Jungle”.) As with Sister Jane, Brown is a Master of Foxhounds.

Sister finds herself in the middle of a very perplexing puzzle – a valuable cowhorn, belonging to Wesley Carruthers, has been stolen. Carruthers himself is an enigma, having disappeared in 1954 – presumed dead. However, someone looking and speaking very much like Carruthers (aka Weevil) let a video behind on the cell phone of one of Sister’s friends.  (The ladies had been visiting the exhibit, and the phone was accidentally left behind.)

The stolen cowhorn brings up issues from the past, including Weevil’s history with women (single and married), and an argument that has two brothers not talking to each other for over twenty years. Then there is the issue of jewelry that seemed to have disappeared about the same time that Weevil did.

I loved that Brown brought Tootie back as part of the Jefferson Hunt, as well as bringing Tootie’s mother deeper into the series. Per usual, everyone has a voice, including the animals: the foxhounds (Cora, Asa, Diana and Dasher), the foxes (Aunt Netty, Earl, Comet, Inky, and Georgia), the horses (Keepsake, Rickyroo, Showboat and Iota), the birds (Athena, Bitsy, and St. Just), and the house pets (Raleigh (a Doberman), Rooster (a Harrier), and Golliwog (a long haired Calico cat).

I love reading about the background and history of the hunt, the culture of Virginia, and about the fact that to understand the present we need to understand the past. In this book, we are introduced to what may be a ghost – a ghost who blows the stolen horn during foxhunts, and does it in such a way that everyone who knew him thinks it is Weevil himself blowing the horn. Then there are the strange appearances of a young man (the age of Weevil when he disappeared) holding conversations with people from his time (and saving Tootie from a gun toting individual who is protecting his marijuana crop!).

Brown is one of two authors that immediately come to mind that cannot write a bad book (the second being Laurie R. King). Her characters are in depth, her background is well researched, and her books keep a strong pace.

This is one of those books that I will read over and over again!

 © June 2018 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission from the author.

Review – Witness To A Murder

Witness To A Murder

Author: Jean and Jon Hamilton-Fford
Create Space
2015
ISBN #978-150045308-4

Witness To A Murder cover

“Witness To A Murder” is a fast paced mystery filed with humor and excitement. Louise Deveraux, a recent widow, visits New York to see her publisher. While there, she is witness to a murder, ala 1954’s “Witness To Murder”, starring Barbara Stanwyck, and “Rear Window”, starring James Stewart.

Still in shock, minutes after watching a man get knocked unconscious and thrown off a 33rd floor balcony, the phone rings, asking for Louise Deveraux. It is her publisher’s office. Before she can begin a conversation, there is a knock on her door. Scared to death, Louise peers through the peep hole. The murderer must have seen the glint from her binoculars – they must know where she is! But the lady outside the door is presentable, and pleads to be let in. She claims to want to help Louise. Louise lets the woman in. She introduces herself as Rota Deale.

Max, Louise’s publisher, has contacted Rota Deale’s employer, who is a huge fan of Louise’s books. The employer is throwing a gala for Louise that very night. If Louise does not go with Rota, she will be fired. At her age, she will not be able to find another job.

Louise agrees to go with Rota, and is treated to an unbelievable afternoon of indulgence – a massage, a mani-pedi, and a wonderful meal. When she returns to the hotel she finds amazing jewelry, a lovely gown to wear, exotic flowers, caviar, chocolate dipped strawberries …  and a maid!

Rota picks her up that evening in a limousine, where they leave for an undisclosed location. They arrive at a magnificent house, where an elegant party is in progress. Louise is taken to meet Carl, Rota’s employer. Here is where things start to spiral downward rapidly! Was Carl one of the three men that Louise saw on the balcony? Did he have something to do with her husband’s death? Does he have underworld connections? Will she survive? Nothing and no one is as they seem.

It becomes clear that she will have to do what Carl wants, or her family will not be safe. Her son, daughter, and two grandchildren – they are her world! What does she have to do? She has to become head of a Wellness Foundation, one that is in her name. And she will become wealthy … very wealthy. And her children … they will be part of the foundation too.

The Hamilton-Fford’s have written a very compelling mystery, all about what drives us, what makes us tick, what we will do to stay safe, and keep our world safe. I loved the detailed descriptions of clothing, rooms, jewels, food … and the general sense of extreme luxury that money can buy. We encounter a longtime friend of Louise that is … well, she is a friend, but she is not what she seems. And we see the depth of who Rota is, and what drives her.

This is an excellent read, and I highly recommend it.

© 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without the written permission of the author.