Iconic, tough-but-tender Boston PI Spenser delves into the black market art scene to investigate a decades-long unsolved crime of dangerous proportions.
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, arrives 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 aged, unlikable Boston socialite, sets Spenser and pals Vinnie Morris and Hawk onto a trail of hidden secrets, jailhouse confessions, and decades-old murders.
Set against the high-society art scene and the low-life back alleys of Boston, this is classic Spenser doing what he does best.
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.
Loved this book!
Spenser seems to be back in full character. Just adore his sense of humor. I think this is one of Ace Atkin’s best so far.
Old Black Magic
Excellent! Big fan of all the Robert B. Parker books and the new writers that took over after his death do the series justice.
Parker would be proud!
Another good one
Ace nails it again. Great read!