Laurel Beacham may have been born with a silver spoon in her mouth, but she has long since lost it digging herself out of trouble. Her father gambled and womanized his way through the family fortune before skiing off an Alp, leaving her with more tarnish than trust fund. Quick wits and connections have gained her a reputation as one of the world’s premier art recovery experts. The police may catch the thief, but she reclaims the missing masterpieces.
The latest assignment, however, may be her undoing. Using every ounce of luck and larceny she possesses, Laurel must locate a priceless art icon and rescue a co-worker (and ex-lover) from a master criminal, all the while matching wits with a charming new nemesis. Unfortunately, he seems to know where the bodies are buried—and she prefers hers isn’t next.
Related subjects include: women sleuths, cozy mysteries, amateur sleuth books, murder mysteries, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), book club recommendations.
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First book in a new series!
Counterfeit Conspiracies by Ritter Ames is the first book in A Bodies of Art Mystery series. Laurel Beacham is an art recovery expert (she reclaims masterpieces for their owners). Laurel grew up in a life of privilege but her father managed to spend (aka gamble) away the family fortune (and then died while skiing). Laurel goes to meet up with Simon Babbage (ex-lover) for her new assignment and discovers he is missing. Laurel must rescue Simon and a King Arthur’s sword and scabbard from a ruthless criminal. While tracking down Simon, Laurel notices someone following her. Who is he and why is he following Laurel? Friend or foe? Read Counterfeit Conspiracies to find out if Laurel can find Simon and the priceless icon.
I found Counterfeit Conspiracies to be very forced (contrived, exaggerated). I thought this was a mystery, but more attention was paid to Laurel’s Prada purse (which was mentioned constantly) than the mystery (which was child’s play to solve). The novel was mostly about running, being chased, and gun fire (and let us not forget the Prada purse). The novel was fast paced (for the most part), but everything just felt artificial (forced). For a first book many things are not explained (and I have to admit that after a while I really did not care). I give Counterfeit Conspiracies 3 out of 5 stars (it was okay). This book was just not for me.
I received a complimentary copy of Counterfeit Conspiracies from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Center of conspiracy
Counterfeit Conspiracies is the first book in Ritter Ames' Bodies of Art Mystery Series. The story begins with Laurel Beacham, the Beacham Foundation's premier art recovery expert, in Italy to pick up an objet d'art to be returned to its rightful owner. But things are going terribly wrong--she is sent a text with the wrong directions to the black tie event, her contact is not to be found at the meet and greet, and there is a a very good looking man paying far much attention to Laurel.
When Laurel finds her contact dead and escapes the clutches of her admirer, she makes the report, heads for London and then is scheduled to fly to a well deserved vacation at Lake Tahoe. As she approaches her flight to the states, she receives a call from her boss, Max, that a very rare antiquity has been found and she is to pick it up along with its documentation before she comes home. Laurel is to contact the London office head, and her former lover, Simon Babbage, to work on the collection. They set up to meet, but when Laurel arrives at Simon's office, he is not there but a strange woman is and is ransacking it. A quick escape with Simon's laptop and a flash drive opens up a race to locate the missing Simon as well as finding the artifact. And the kicker is that the mysterious party attendee has inserted himself into her quest and is, just perhaps, a member of MI6.
A fast paced read that moves from the streets of London to the French countryside. Laurel is being chased and shot at as she makes her way to the final twist that will leave you surprised, even stunned. A real page turner that will leave you wanting more. I recommend this novel.