Jeffrey Archer, one of the greatest popular novelists of our generation, delivers a truly page-turning thriller in False Impression.
When an aristocratic old lady is brutally murdered in her country home the night before 9/11, it takes all the resources of the FBI and Interpol to work out the connection between her and the possible motive for her death – a priceless Van Gogh painting. It's a young woman, who was in the North Tower when the first plane crashed into the building, who has the courage and determination to take on both sides of the law and avenge the old lady's death.
Anna Petrescu is missing, presumed dead, after 9/11 and she uses her new status to escape from America, only to be pursued across the world from Toronto to London, to Hong Kong, Tokyo and Bucharest, but it is only when she returns to New York that the mystery unfolds.
Why are so many people willing to risk their own lives and others' to own the Van Gogh Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear?
Even though Archer (Sons of Fortune) grounds his international art-thievery thriller in the events of 9/11, this leisurely paced, tepid effort has a musty feel. It's September 10, 2001, and Lady Victoria Wentworth is sitting in spacious Wentworth Hall considering the sad state of family fortunes when a female intruder slips in, slashes her throat and cuts off her ear. The next day in New York, art expert Anna Petrescu heads to her job as art wrangler for wealthy magnate Bryce Fenston of Fenston Finance. The pair's offices are in the Twin Towers, and when disaster strikes, each sees the tragedy as an opportunity to manipulate a transaction scheduled to transfer ownership of a legendary Van Gogh painting, Self-portrait with Bandaged Ear, from the Wentworth estate to the larcenous Fenston. The initially intriguing character, hit-woman and ex-gymnast Olga Krantz, turns out to be too lightweight, both physically and fictionally, to garner strong interest in anything other than her deadly skills with a kitchen knife. Lord Archer has been busy for the past five years or so serving half of a four-year prison sentence for perjury and writing a series of books about his prison experience; his first novel in seven years disappoints.