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The heist was legendary, still talked about twenty years after the priceless paintings disappeared from one of Boston's premier art museums. Most thought the art was lost forever, buried deep, sold off overseas, or, worse, destroyed as incriminating evidence. But when paint chips from the most valuable piece stolen, Gentlemen in Black by a Spanish master, arrive at the desk of a Boston journalist, the museum finds hope and enlists Spenser's help.
Soon the cold art case thrusts Spenser into the shady world of black market art dealers, aged Mafia bosses, and old vendettas. A five-million-dollar-reward by the museum's top benefactor, an unlikable Boston socialite, sets Spenser and pal Vinnie Morris onto a trail of hidden secrets, jailhouse confessions, murder, and double crosses.
'Robert B Parker's Spenser is one of the best private detectives in fiction' - Sunday Telegraph
'Spenser is as tough and funny as ever, and Atkins has become a worthy successor' - Booklist
The 1990 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist, one of the art world's greatest unsolved mysteries, provides the spark for bestseller Atkins's entertaining seventh Spenser novel (after 2017's Little White Lies). Locke, an old colleague, tells Spenser he's dying and looking to settle his affairs. In particular, he wants the Boston PI's help in recovering El Greco's The Gentleman in Black, one of three valuable paintings stolen from the Winthrop Museum two decades earlier. Locke has pursued the thieves for years without success, but now the Winthrop's director has started to receive letters from someone with convincing details about the theft. A solution to the case could at last be at hand. Spenser soon finds himself in a race against an obnoxious British investigator who specializes in art crimes. As usual, Atkins emulates Parker's style and dry humor flawlessly ("It was Susan's turn to cook, so we had reservations at Harvest"), but this straightforward, plot-driven entry lacks the attention to the developing relationship between Spenser and Susan that marked the previous book. Author tour.