By Anne-Laure Thiéblemont
Marion Spicer Art Mysteries, Book 1
Publisher: Le French Book
Release date: August 11, 2015
Length: 211 Pages (3918 KB)
Length: 211 Pages (3918 KB)
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About the book:
Some people collect art, others collect trouble.
Marion Spicer spends her days examining auction catalogues and searching for stolen works of art. She is a top-notch investigator when it comes to eighteenth-century art. But for her it’s just a job and her life is well ordered. All this changes when she inherits a huge and very prestigious collection of pre-Columbian art from a father she never knew.
There are conditions attached: she must first find three priceless statues.
That is when her troubles begin. Her father’s death sparked much greed, and Marion finds herself facing the merciless microcosm of Paris art auctions and galleries, with its sharks, schemes, fences, traps, scams, and attacks. Her quest draws her into a world where people will kill for a love of beauty.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
An art reporter and trained gem specialist, Anne-Laure Thiéblemont is known for her investigations into stolen art and gem trafficking.
She currently works as a magazine editor, and splits her time between Paris and Marseille.
ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR
Sophie Weiner is a freelance translator and book publishing assistant from Baltimore, Maryland. After earning degrees in French from Bucknell University and New York University, Sophie went on to complete a master’s in literary translation from the Sorbonne, where she focused her thesis on translating wordplay in works by Oulipo authors. She has translated and written for web-based companies dedicated to art, cinema, and fashion as well as for nonprofit organizations. Growing up with Babar, Madeline, and The Little Prince, Sophie was bitten by the Francophile bug at an early age, and is fortunate enough to have lived in Paris, Lille, and the Loire Valley.
A fan of mystery books set in France, I jumped at the chance to read and review The Collector by Anne-Laure Thiéblemont, the first book in her Marion Spicer Art Mystery series. Using pre- Columbian art, and the cutthroat dealings between appraisers, collectors and historians in the art world, Ms. Thiéblemont introduces us to colorful characters willing to do whatever it takes to get their hands on a prestigious art collection. What begins as a surprise inheritance soon turns into an adventure where people’s lives are at stake.Ms. Thiéblemont does a good job introducing us to Marion Spicer right from the start. An intelligent single woman who has been told her father has been dead since she was three years old, Marion discovers that her father had been alive for the last 33 years and living under the name Edmond Magni. The terms of his will leave his entire estate to her, an estate filled with pre-Columbian art valued at over forty-million euros as long as she can locate three pieces which apparently were a part of the collection at one time but had been sold off. Thinking she’s hit the lottery, Marion is very excited about the inheritance and immediately begins to plan how to locate the three items. While Marion works as an investigator in the art field, she’s never worked with pre-Columbian art and has no idea how much danger her life will be in as a result of this possible inheritance.Ms. Thiéblemont also does a good job developing the secondary characters and they are all very colorful. And also strange. As she encounters art dealers and appraisers on her search, Marion is introduced to a world filled with depraved individuals and with art that is somewhat less than appealing – in fact the descriptions of the art collected by her father show that he was obsessed with art that depicted the most barbaric aspects of Columbian civilization. Plus, he was obsessed with sexual objects and quite rude from what she learns from individuals who did business with him. There are also questions about the legality of parts of his collection.Overall Ms. Thiéblemont’s writing style is engaging and entertaining. The mystery of who is trying to obstruct Marion’s search for the missing items is well done and overall the story takes several twists and turns. Marion is forced to question what she knows about her family and herself and ultimately question who she can trust. The list of people she can trust is even smaller than she thinks. The story’s pace is occasionally a little slow but the story is interesting enough that it kept my attention from start to finish.Will Marion locate the three missing statutes she needs to collect her inheritance? Will the inheritance turn out to be everything she hoped it would be? Or will her father’s collection be something other than what it appears to be? You’ll have to read The Collector to find out. I enjoyed it and look forward to reading more of this author’s work.My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Crowns
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