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Death and Restoration


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Clever and witty art history-mystery featuring scholar and sleuth Jonathon Argyll, from the author of the bestselling masterpiece 'An Instance of the Fingerpost'. / Delightful art-history crime novels from the author of the bestselling 'An Instance of the Fingerpost'. / Stunning reviews for Iain Pears's most recent novel 'The Portrait'. / Reissued in new format and sumptuous covers to appeal to an even wider audience. / Major TV deal concluded for these intricate, charming and atmospheric novels. / Competition: Jonathan Gash, Michael Dibdin, Donna Leon, Andrea Camilleri

About the Author

Iain Pears is a journalist and art historian. After several years working for Reuters, he went to Yale University to complete his book, The Discovery of Painting, which was published by Yale University Press in 1988. He now lives in Oxford.


Pears, an art historian and author of the acclaimed historical novel, An Instance of the Fingerpost (1997), imbues his light-hearted art-world mystery series set in Italy (Giotto's Hand, 1997) with an enthusiast's love of his subject. Here, Jonathan Argyll, art dealer and lecturer, and his lover, Flavia di Stefano, an officer with Rome's Art Theft Department, investigate the theft of an ancient, seemingly worthless iconic painting of the Madonna from the Monastery of San Giovanni and the apparently related attack on the head monk. As Flavia investigates the theft, she runs into legendary art thief Mary Verney, icon dealer Peter Burckhardt and Daniel Menzies, a hot-tempered art restorer who is cleaning the monastery's second-rate Caravaggio. We learn that Mikis Charanis, the power-hungry son of Mary's former lover, has kidnapped her granddaughter; release is contingent on Mary stealing the icon for him. Then Peter Burckhardt is murdered, and the police must scramble to find motive and killer. After Jonathan learns the stolen icon is "Our Lady," venerated by the people in the neighborhood for saving Rome from the plague long ago, he traces the icon's astonishing history and uncovers the monastery's unpleasant secrets. Although Flavia's suspects escape arrest, Jonathan fingers the real thief‘and the motive‘in an amusing finale. Pears again achieves a delicate, sure balance with a book simultaneously witty and instructive. (Oct.)

Praise for 'Death and Restoration': 'Pears's tremendous affection for Rome comes through strongly in the book, making the city one of the most engaging characters' Sunday Times 'Iain Pears writes delightfully witty, elegant, well-informed crime novels' The Times 'You don't have to know much about art to enjoy Iain Pears's Italian mysteries. Like a good teacher he shares his passion unobtrusively and flavours his lessons with wit.' Val McDermid Praise for 'The Portrait': 'A wonderful, grimly entertaining novel.' Sunday Telegraph 'A revenge fantasy to relish.' Independent on Sunday 'Genuinely creepy.' The Times 'An exquisite miniature that explores the roles of artist and critic with wit and gore.' Evening Standard 'This is an atmospheric tour de force of historical writing, as it is of narrative skill.' Independent 'Taut, disturbing!full of interesting observations about the late nineteenth -- and early twentieth-century art world!mesmerising.' Spectator

Having triumphed with the best-selling An Instance of the Fingerpost, Pears returns with another Jonathan Argyll mystery. This time, Argyll investigates the theft of a seemingly worthless icon from a Roman monastery.

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