1920s art world sus­pense

Daily Press (Sunday) - - Books - By Mau­reen McCarthy Star Tri­bune (Min­ne­ap­o­lis)

Art and in­trigue make schem­ing bed­fel­lows in the lat­est novel by B.A. Shapiro, mas­ter of the “his­tor­i­cal art thriller.”

This time she takes on the 1920s art world as post-Im­pres­sion­ism is tak­ing hold. The shapeshift­ing Cu­bists and col­or­crazed Fau­vists are capti- vat­ing Paris, and Gertrude Stein pre­sides over soirees with Pi­casso and Matisse. Into this world steps Vivi­enne Gregsby, a young woman reel­ing from a dis­as­trous en­gage­ment to a con man who cost her fam­ily their for­tune and art col­lec­tion. She ap­pears to catch a break when Amer­i­can ty­coon Ed­win Bradley hires her to help him assem­ble an art col­lec­tion for a mu­seum in Philadel­phia.

Then her ex-fi­ance con artist reap­pears. Ge­orge — or is it Ben­jamin, or Ash­ton, or Ivan? — wants her back for his next es­capade. She wants her fam­ily’s col­lec­tion back — and she wants re­venge. Their spar­ring takes a darker turn when Vivi­enne’s boss dies in sus­pi­cious cir­cum­stances.

Once again, Shapiro stitches her sus­pense into real life, with Bradley and Vivi­enne re­sem­bling the mer­cu­rial Philadel­phia art col­lec­tor Al­bert Barnes and his as­sis­tant Vi­o­lette de Mazia.

Au­toim­mune Dis­ease” by An­thony Wil­liam

For the week ended Jan. 5, com­piled from data from in­de­pen­dent and chain book­stores, book whole­salers and in­de­pen­dent dis­trib­u­tors na­tion­wide.

— Pub­lish­ers Weekly

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