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In 1899 London, Edmund de Courcy nearly loses everything when his father's will divides the heavily mortgaged family estate between two families. By studying art, joining a London art gallery, and selling paintings to self-important traveling American millionaires, he hopes to regain his expected inheritance. Investigator Powerscourt enters when an art critic who threatens to expose forgeries in de Courcy's gallery is murdered. Further murder leads to the unmasking of a master forger, himself the pawn of adversity. Dickinson's third Powerscourt mystery (after Goodnight, Sweet Prince and Death and the Jubilee) features a great story, interesting tidbits about various Victorian painters, and a most engaging protagonist. Highly recommended. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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In Dickinson's third well-paced Victorian mystery (after 2003's Death and the Jubilee), devoted family man Lord Francis Powerscourt investigates the murder of a distant relative, art historian Christopher Montague, found garroted in his London flat. Suspects abound, from both the victim's personal and professional life. Powerscourt soon learns that Montague was having an affair with the wife of an older man who vanishes right after the body's discovery. The murderer's theft of all the scholar's papers suggests that their rumored contents, which would disclose a sophisticated and extensive forged-art ring, motivated the killer. The aristocrat is his usual quick study as he infiltrates the world of the dealers peddling the work of the Old Masters, and he uses his network of sources, including his wife, to find proof of the frauds targeting American nouveaux riches. After a second murder by strangulation, the noose appears to tighten around the cuckold, whose trial in classic Perry Mason fashion becomes the vehicle for the disclosure of the truth with a plausible fair-play solution that will satisfy traditional mystery fans. Dickinson nicely blends action and dogged sleuthing, and his husband-wife pair of detectives is both more personable and believable than similar Victorian duos created by Anne Perry and Robin Paige. This neatly plotted effort should gain him wider notice and the larger readership he deserves. (Feb. 2) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Lord Francis Powerscourt, royal intelligence operative and private investigator near the end of the nineteenth century, gets an interesting new case when his wife asks him to look into the death of a distant relative. Christopher Montague, a respected art critic, turns up garroted in his study. Lord Powerscourt discovers an unpublished manuscript among his papers that may be the cause. It seems that some prominent art dealers who are exhibiting Old Masters for sale are really selling excellent forgeries. The investigation leads Powerscourt into the murky art underworld in London, on the continent, and in Corsica. In the process, he uncovers treachery and unscrupulous business practices that rival those of present-day Wall Street. Dickinson--Good Night, Sweet Prince (2001), Death and theubilee (2003)--vividly re-creates the ambience of life in London at the turn of the last century. Readers interested in Victorian London and in fine art will find this story appealing. --Barbara Bibel Copyright 2004 Booklist