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Le jugement dernier (Jonathan Argyll #4)

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  852 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
The attempted sale of an obscure 18th-century painting goes murderously awry in this newest mystery starring impoverished art-dealer sleuth Jonathan Argyll, from the bestselling author of The Raphael Affair and The Titian Committee.
348 pages
Published April 2003 by Belfond (first published 1993)
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Community Reviews

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Jan 27, 2009 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Gregory McDonald, Elizabeth Peters, mystery capers
This is the first Iain Pears book that I've read, and the fourth in the Art History Mystery Series (Jonathan Argyll and Flavia di Stefano).

Here's why I liked it:

* This series is in the same vein as Gregory McDonald's Fletch series or Elizabeth Peters' Vicky Bliss/Sir John Smythe Street of the Five Moons series. Clever, quick, amused with itself and inviting the reader to be amused as well.

* The pairing of Jonathan and Flavia is believable, interesting and promises to hold the reader's interest
Simon Mcleish
May 24, 2012 Simon Mcleish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally published on my blog here in October 1999.

This is the fourth of Pears' Jonathan Argyll series. It is a little difficult to tell given the evidence presented with this edition, which is perhaps something Gollancz should have done rather better. (It's a hardback, likely to be bought by libraries, where readers cannot always see all the books by a particular author on a single visit.)

I would not have thought there were so many reasons to connect fine art with murder, but Pears has been c
Definitely the best one in my re-read quest. It has it all: conspiracy, WWII traitors and heroes, Flavia in excellent form and Jonathan stumbling into, by accident (isn't always the case with Jonathan), a 50 years old secret that involves an art collection hiding a family secret.

Pears succeeds again in drawing the reader in his web of art dealing where his lead character is quite inept at it but loves obscure paintings. We do get obscure and mysterious here. As with the other novels in this ser
Julie Vaughn
Uneven plot. Silly dialog. When you read a murder mystery you want to believe that the scenes in the book are plausible. That way you do not get distracted from the flow of the book because your brain says “can't this author see how silly that sounds?” or “what hotel clerk would tell a stranger in what room they can find the person they are looking for and then let them go up to the room?”
Jan 12, 2017 Lobstergirl rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bella Hadid

Jonathan Argyll, whose job seems to be buying art for a gallery or museum, is in Paris. After he concludes some business with an art dealer, he offers to carry a just-purchased painting to its buyer in Rome, in exchange for the art dealer filling out the arduous paperwork involved in Argyll's purchase of some prints. (Right. Hand-carrying a painting from Paris to Rome is so much easier than filling out some paperwork.) But when he delivers the painting, the buyer suddenly decides he doesn't want
Jun 16, 2011 Monica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The Last Judgement” is the 4th book in the Jonathan Argyll/ Flavia di Stefano mystery series by Iain Pears. This time the pair of sleuths are off to Paris to unravel a mystery that digs into the past lives of people deeply affected by the second world war. The plot is solid and the final pages of the book left me satisfied…and rather pleased with the way Flavia found finality with the case. Pears has a unique writing style that produces pleasing and believable mysteries without going too far in ...more
aPriL does feral sometimes
Although this is normally a series where I check off the cozy mystery category, I'm not going there with this number four in the Jonathan Argyll/Flavia di Stefano novels. It's witty, well-written, exciting and fast moving - but a cozy, it aint. A torturer is on the loose causing grief and mayhem, a war criminal has been protected by governments for political PR purposes, and real heroes of WWII are buried under secrecy laws and thrown away to die, without acknowledgement or respect for their ser ...more
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 Althea Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the third of Pears' "art-history mysteries" that I've read - and I really love them. British art dealer Jonathan Argyll and his girlfriend Flavia, a whiz on the Roman police's art squad, are, not surprisingly, always finding themselves mixed up in unsavory doings concerning art...
In this case, Jonathan agrees to deliver an unexceptional painting entitled 'The Death of Socrates' to a client as a favor to a colleague. However, when not only does someone try to steal it from him at the trai
Jul 02, 2011 Mairi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
So not what I was hoping for. The cover indicates that this is "Jonathan Argyll #4" which I guess it is. Argyll is a sort of bumbling, accidentally and sometimes successful art dealer who is sort-of-engaged to a woman who is an Italian Art Theft/Fraud Police inspector and it gives roughly equal time to her. I liked her and the story better than I liked him or the way the story was told. It wasn't even that I actively disliked him; I would've been happier with that! There wasn't enough of him, ch ...more
Martin Mulcahey
Mar 20, 2011 Martin Mulcahey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An evolving duo. The other reviews are right about political intrigue taking too much space in contrast to art history. However, I think the characters are evolved more in this book then any other, and the personal aspect of the three main characters are brought out more then in the first three books. I agree this is not the best book to start with, but it is still a good read and essential if you are going to invest in reading the whole series. Most importantly for me, it is still written with ...more
Nov 13, 2015 Eugene rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Still love a good mystery, and always a sucker for a book with an art motif. Thoroughly enjoyed this quirky little story, with its quirky protagonists. Enjoyed it more with each succeeding chapter even as I thought, "OK, not much plot here but the tale is fun and the art history entertaining," and then Wham! the denouement exploded plot all over the place, and tied it up so beautifully as well. Will definitely read more of the several books in this series.
Apr 29, 2013 Deb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, mystery, art
One of Pears' better entries, with a twisty plot, a nice clash of WWII history (involving the French Resistance vs. collaborators) and modern politics, and a classic reveal at the end courtesy of Pears' stylish and dogged Flavia, detective for Rome's Art Squad. I really enjoy this series. It's simultaneously light and learned, difficult as that may seem. I highly recommend it to mystery lovers and art lovers seeking some entertaining fiction.
I was off on a bus ride and needed a small book to carry....I've loved Iain Pears books, Instance, Scipio, and especially Stone's Fall. This is kind of in the middle of a series, and I did quite enjoy it, and I'll go back to the start and them all. Jonathan Argyll, British art dealer, attached to an Italian detective, whose job it is to solve art crimes. This was a good story, and I like the character Flavia....Jonathan, is a little effete!
Bob Koelle
Aug 10, 2009 Bob Koelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an enjoyable diversion, with some interesting insights into the European market for second or third tier art. The conclusion wasn't entirely satisfactory to me; I guess I was wanting something more sensational. But the places come alive, and between this book and Midnight in Paris, I finally have the urge to visit the City of Lights.
Lyn Elliott
Jan 07, 2013 Lyn Elliott rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Art crime fans
Shelves: art, crime, mystery
Typical Pears writing of art theft and, in this case, a couple of nasty murders, solved by art dealer and his now fiancée Flavia of the Italian art police. Clever, witty, engaging, based in Rome but the story and characters move rapidly from Rome to France, Switzerland to England and back to Rome via Paris. Whew! Good read for a hot summer's day.
Mar 31, 2016 Mary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I slogged through one hundred pages to finally become nominally interested in this mystery. Thought I would like it since there was art involved but, no. The tone of the book was too flippant even for me. Characters were not believable and the "official" investigation was just too loose for my tastes.
Nick Duretta
The set-up for this mystery is very involving--a trail of murder surrounding a not-very-valuable lesser work by a minor artist--and the protagonists (art historian Argyll and his Italian cop girlfriend Flavia) are an intriguing pair, but the plot gets too bogged down before the end. I gave up caring about who was who, how they were related and what all the ancient feuds were about.
Nov 11, 2016 Enid rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
A fun read- first book I have read in the series, and this is a book in the middle of it. There was a bit too much political intrigue for me, but the characters were interesting, as well as the locations and the art history bits. Based on others' reviews, the other books in the series are more focused on the art history angle, so I will give them a try at some point.
Apr 12, 2009 Barbra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Very complex plot using the often nefarious goings-on of the international art market as a backdrop. "The art dealer Jonathan Argyll is stuck with a painting that only the most tasteless collector could love...and he finds himself right in the middle of a murder investigation." Great stuff and art history as well, really enjoyed this one.
Jul 24, 2013 Ferris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very enjoyable art history murder mystery! Jonathan Argyll and his lady love, Flavia, of the Art Police in Rome move between London, Paris, and Rome to solve the case. Fast-paced, betrayal and double crosses that have reached past the WWII era and French Resistance movement to present day lead them a chase. Good read!
Deborah Cater
An easy read that trots along at a decent pace. The mystery jigsaw is nicely pieced together and incorporates Pears' knowledge of art history without overloading the reader with facts. Easily digested in one go.
Nowhere near has good as his works such as 'An Instance of the Fingerpost' and 'Dream of Scipio' but good enough for a quiet afternoon.
May 20, 2009 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm so glad that I found a new mystery author to love now that I'm all finished with the "maisie dobbs" series. These "Jonathan Argyll" mysteries are not quite as heavy as the maisie dobbs but they have wonderful mysteries, a light sense of humor and good characters. I've only read this one and "Death and Restoration". This one was my fave. I'm excited for more.
This (mis)adventure of art historian Jonathan Argyll was not really about art at all; no forgeries, no secrets. As usual with Pears, an enjoyable read delivering the necessary plot twists. However, none of the 3 dénouements came as a surprise to me.
It feels like Pears is repeating some of the territory he covered in the Bernini bust, about how WWII casts a very long shadow.
I am sure the book felt au currant when he wrote it, but now stating that Rue Jacob is modest sounds funny.
Ben Chenoweth
Feb 08, 2016 Ben Chenoweth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A rollicking plot of murder and fine art, this time with a World War 2 historical back story. The novel has a relatively complicated plot and a twist of two but unfolds well. I definitely recommend the series.
Dec 31, 2010 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this series! This may be the best book so far in the series - it is so complicated, and yet so fun! Now, on the the next one, thanks to my son, who bought me three wonderful books for Christmas!
Oct 05, 2014 Barbara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I don't like this one as well as the other books in this series. The action, while highly entertaining, verges on the preposterous more than once. Also, the denouement to the mystery is rather unpleasant. I did really appreciate Flavia's letter at the end. Every single word was true.
Jan 28, 2008 Peggy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recently-read
This was really a 3.5 star. I was fighting off a cold this weekend so I wallowed in mysteries. I saw the conclusion coming a mile away, but the writing is witty and funny, so I can overlook the obviousness. I will continue to read Iain Pears.
Abe Frank
Totally fine. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to anyone, but also I wouldn't knock it out of someone's hands if they were looking to read a book about art historical criminality.
Jan 25, 2012 Maura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
same main characters as in _The Raphael Affair_. more fine art talk, a lot of country jumping, a good solid read.
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Iain Pears is an English art historian, novelist and journalist. He was educated at Warwick School, Warwick, Wadham College and Wolfson College, Oxford. Before writing, he worked as a reporter for the BBC, Channel 4 (UK) and ZDF (Germany) and correspondent for Reuters from 1982 to 1990 in Italy, France, UK and US. In 1987 he became a Getty Fellow in the Arts and Humanities at Yale University. His ...more
More about Iain Pears...

Other Books in the Series

Jonathan Argyll (7 books)
  • The Raphael Affair (Jonathan Argyll, #1)
  • The Titian Committee (Jonathan Argyll, #2)
  • The Bernini Bust (Jonathan Argyll, #3)
  • Giotto's Hand (Jonathan Argyll, #5)
  • Death and Restoration (Jonathan Argyll, #6)
  • The Immaculate Deception (Jonathan Argyll, #7)

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