Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mystery and Romance in the Santa Fe Art World

Alix London, estranged daughter of an art forger, gets an art consultant job that projects her into the Santa Fe art world where she finds romance, a chance to exercise her connoisseur’s eye, and murder. Chris LeMay has a contract to purchase a Georgia O'Keefe if it's genuine. When Alix sees the painting she immediately knows it's a fake, her connoisseur's eye, but proving is is another problem. The FBI is also investigating forged paintings emanating form the Santa Fe art community. Agent, Ted Ellesworth, poses as a collector to try to uncover who is responsible for the forgeries. When he sees the painting, he's convinced it's real and suspects Alix of ulterior motives in identifying it as a fake. When the gallery owner, a friend of Chris, is found dead, the trip turns deadly for Alix and Chris.

I enjoyed many things about this book. The characters, particularly Alix and Chris, are appealing. The Santa Fe art scene with gallery owners, artists and collectors is fascinating. The con-game of selling fake artworks to the unwary is well done. However, there were things I didn't like about the book. The meshing of the romance between Alix and Ted with the mystery seemed strained. He kept trying too hard to consider her guilty when all the facts pointed in another direction. I also found the mystery too easy to solve. The murderer is identifiable very early in the book.

This book is a fun read. However, the romance and mystery don't mesh well. If you're a fan of either, you may be disappointed. It feels as if the two authors each wrote their own specialty. I was very disappointed that the mystery was so easy to solve. If you are a mystery reader who likes to try to beat the detective to the solution of the crime, this book is not challenge.

I reviewed this book as part of the Amazon Vine Program.

A Dangerous Talent by Charlotte and Aaron Elkins