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Death of an Artist: A Mystery
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Death of an Artist: A Mystery

3.12  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,010 Ratings  ·  186 Reviews

Marnie Markov is ready for trouble when her renowned artist daughter, Stef, begins a messy divorce from her fourth husband/business partner, Dale. After all, the best relationship Marnie's ever been able to manage with her brilliant, unstable daughter is an uneasy truce. Still, she supports Stef's decision not to let Dale sell her work to the highest
Published May 2014 by Worldwide Library Worldwide Mystery (first published March 27th 2012)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,432)
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I enjoyed this story, narrated by Carrington MacDuffie. The artist and what drove her to paint, to be the odd, eccentric person she was, was very interesting. Her mother and daughter and grandson all had a part in her life and in her story. There is a secondary story of a retired, dis-abled NYC policeman who becomes a part of the little town on the Oregon coast, and becomes involved in the lives of the three women when he finds work with a local furniture maker.
May 17, 2012 Larraine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An artist in a small Oregon seaside town is known for her on and off again talent and her emotional roller coaster personality. She lives in a two family house with her mother. She is married, but she and her husband don't formally live together. They are having problems. She has a grown daughter who is finishing medical school and will be interning in a Chicago hospital Stef, the artist, doesn't want to sell her art until she has detached herself emotionally from every work. This takes her year ...more
Apr 15, 2012 Mikkee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Death of An Artist was described as a mystery, but the page turning type of mystery that keeps you wondering and guessing at the "who dun it?". The author spent a lot of time in establishing all the characters in the book at the front end, and I was almost a third of the way in before the murder happened. You never once had to guess who had done it, you just wondered if there would be justice, no justice, or vigilante justice.

The book was described as a mystery, and I went into it with that mind
Death of an Artist doesn't follow the typical formula murder mystery. There is not an immediate murder followed by a police investigation. The book progresses slowly by introducing characters in the small Oregon town of Silver Bay long before the actual murder occurs.

The book description gives away the identity of both the victim and suspect. The victim is Stefany Markov and the suspect is her 4th husband, Dale Oliver. I felt as if I was reading a cozy episode of Murder She Wrote until the troub
Death of an Artist doesn't follow your typical murder mystery format. In fact, gbgyyyucvfyvyvyttggeu. Sorry, my dog decided to try her hand at typing. With her tongue. It was a sticky situation. ;)
Kate Wilhelm really likes slow plots and many, many details. The storyline went a little slow for me, and in audiobook format that can become a real chore. I didn't really like the narrator's voice to begin with, but I needed to know the murderer would get his come-uppence by the end. (You know pretty
Moira Russell
May 23, 2012 Moira Russell marked it as to-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, on-the-kindle
Skeletons was great, Price of Silence decidedly less so, and this one is so stilted and the characters so flat (the Sensitive Cop! the Gigolo Husband! the Wild Artist! &c &c) it's going on the to-finish pile.
Dec 09, 2012 Barb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-fict, series, mystery
Nice set up and interesting people put in interesting places.

Silver Bay, Oregon, a small coastal resort town with nearly a thousand residents, is home to three generations of women. Marnie is the long-widowed owner of a small gift shop. Van is her granddaughter who is about to graduate medical school. And Stef is a mercurial, difficult and brilliant artist who refuses to sell her work. When Stef discovers that Dale Oliver, her latest husband in a very long line, is trying to sell her work behind
Barb Klein
May 04, 2012 Barb Klein rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Death of an Artist” was a thrilling story by Kate Wilhelm. I was so taken in by the descriptive explanations of the art work that I could actually picture it in my mind. I was also caught up in the interaction among the grandmother, Marnie; the daughter, Steph and the daughter Van. What an interesting family! When Tony, the retired, disabled detective seeks to discover the murderer, the book really got interesting. I was totally absorbed in the storyline. Ms. Wilhelm paints a picture of the Ore ...more
Jul 04, 2012 Ruth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Oh, how I wanted to like this book. It started out with the best of intentions. There were interesting characters. There was the beginning of a plot. Then it all fell apart. I'm not sure if Ms. Wilhelm was rushed. I'm not sure if she thinks her readers are stupid. I'm not sure if she doesn't trust in her own storytelling ability. Rather than letting a mystery unravel, from the beginning you completely understand the crime and know "whodunit." Rather than building a solid story, the author seems ...more
Sep 20, 2014 Deb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The subtitle, "A Mystery," is not quite accurate. From the beginning, we know who killed Stef. Her daughter Van (Vanessa) and her mother Marnie are sure. But can they prove it? On the surface, it seems that Stef, an artist of genius, fell down a flight of stairs while carrying one of her paintings and broke her neck. But both surviving women witnessed her arguments with her estranged husband and knew him to be a greedy liar. A partner in an art gallery, he had been urging Stef to sell some of he ...more
Pr Latta
For fans of the Barabara Holloway series, this stand along novel is notable for what it is not: no court room drama scene, not a legal thriller or suspense novel. It is not a mystery, though there are murders. It is not a romance, though relationships are important to the story (and somewhat peripheral, if that makes any sense).

But it does have her trademark attention to detail and sifting through a lot of chaff (life isn't always cut and dry)to find the wheat and some of legal details (contrac
Jan 04, 2015 Matt rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"Death of an Artist" is not a traditional mystery. There is never any doubt as to who the killer is, neither for the reader nor the other characters in the book. This can be a successful way to do a mystery, watching the book's characters uncover the information that allows them to prove the killer is guilty. In this book, however, it is very unsuccessful. The characters are one-dimensional and dreadfully dull. Worse, the murder is never proven. Instead, the killer simply behaves stupidly, revea ...more
Aug 20, 2012 Nancey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
We listened to this book on our recent trip to drive up the Oregon coast since it takes place in a coastal city I thought it'd be fun. But I wasn't thrilled with the story there was no suspense or mystery really it's all about proving who did it & it takes them forever to get to some obvious clues. Plus the romance was not needed and it felt forced.
Aug 28, 2012 Bonne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It kept my attention. I had it as an audiobook and listened to it in the car and when I worked out. The plot was not had to follow which is exactly what I want to get me through those times when the task at hand is not totally consuming. The characters were predictable--the good were good and the bad stayed bad.
Carolina Imhof
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Diana H.
Dec 15, 2015 Diana H. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Stef, a brilliant and eccentric artist, is found dead at the bottom of a flight of stairs. Her mother and daughter both believe that Stef's soon to be ex-husband is somehow responsible. But how do you prove that a death ruled accidental was actually murder?
Well for these two women, it's prove murder or do murder (they are both willing to kill Stef's husband if need be). After asking a retired NYC detective to look into the "accident", he too comes to the conclusion that Dale (the soon to be ex)
Harry Lane
May 25, 2012 Harry Lane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wilhelm is an exceptionally good writer. I have enjoyed her books from the time she wrote SF. In this one, the characterizations and plot are up to her usual standard. I liked the small town setting, which is a change of pace. I hope this is the start of a new series.
Jun 04, 2012 Marcie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I noticed quite a few of the author's fans did not care for this book. I don't think I have read her before so have no comparison. I thoroughly enjoyed the story--the location, characters, whys and wherefores. I would read her again.
Trula Rae
Oct 16, 2015 Trula Rae rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This mystery is more about how justice will be served than it is about who-done-it. It is clear early on that Stef, the hyper-sensitive, restless, yet very successful artist is killed by her greedy sleaze of a husband, Dan Oliver, soon to be ex-husband if he hadn’t killed her first. Marnie Markov knew things about her artist daughter, as only a mother can know, and she knew Dan Oliver had killed her daughter. Van, Stef’s daughter, is about to graduate medical school, so she knew the medical exam ...more
Apr 12, 2012 Mimi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'd call this one just ok. It wasn't bad, just kind of flat. I expected some build up to the end and it just didn't. This was the first book I read by Kate Wilhelm and I probably won't read another.
Nancy Hollingsworth

I listened to this. A couple of times I thought I couldn't wait for the book to be over. Parts were intriguing, but the inconsistencies in the love story bombed. I'm not a romance fan.
Ginger Weirich
Feb 14, 2016 Ginger Weirich rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Did you ever read a stand-alone novel and fall in love with the main characters to a degree that you wished for a duo, a trilogy, a series? But then again, the ending was a good, “complete” ending, so the story doesn’t need to continue. Three women, grandma, daughter and granddaughter, have a bit of a dysfunctional life, but a whole lot of love. Daughter’s current husband is a real jerk and out to make all he can off of her art which she is loath to sell. A retired NYC cop, who loves to work wit ...more
Kate Kinsey
I don't know why I didn't just stop this one, because half way through I was getting really annoyed. I usually try to find something nice to say, as an author I know how terrible it is to have someone just say, "I hated it."

But I hated it. Others might be fine with it, it's one of those shallow little easy reads that many seem to like. Kind of like Palmer's chocolate at the holidays. It sells, but I prefer to hold out for Russell Stovers or at least Hershey's.

The characters were flat. The dialo
Apr 25, 2012 Linda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
No mystery know who did it and who was murdered. The character were flat and uninteresting. A complete disappointment.
Mar 05, 2014 Yvonne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
How many gallons of coffee did all the characters drink, anyway? Every time two or more characters were in the same room at the same time, SOMEONE went to make a pot of coffee. If it is some kind of literary device to buy time, it doesn't work. They never went to the bathroon, either. Other than that irritation, the story has an interesting premise. Tortured genius artist/beloved daughter/maddening sister gets murdered by the obvious person and everyone knows it but can't prove it A plot driven ...more
In Silver Bay on the Oregon coast lives Marnie with her fiftyish daughter Stef, a brilliant but mercurial artist who refuses to sell nearly all of her work and is never satisfied--with herself, her life, her men, her art, or anything else. Her daughter Van--mostly raised by Marnie--is finishing medical school and is bringing her young son Josh to the coast as well. When Stef's current husband tries to sell Stef's work without her permission, she explodes and removes all of her art from his galle ...more
nomadreader (Carrie D-L)
(originally posted at

My thoughts: Despite what the title implies, this mystery-of-sorts doesn't start with a death. And with only one artist in the cast of characters, Stef, her death is a foregone conclusion. Furthermore, who kills her is also (mostly) apparent from the beginning. The why is debated, but it's the how that makes this novel shine. Thus, Death of an Artist feels off kilter until Stef dies. It's rare to discover a mystery not concerned with who did
Apr 01, 2013 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How did I come across this book? I have no idea where or when I head of it. But I downloaded the audio version from my library. That is so much easier than getting the CDs, putting them on the computer & then on my iPhone. I'll go this route from now on unless I want to listen to a particular book that's only available on CDs.

As to the book, it is a good story with likable (or unlike-able as the case may be) characters. This book takes place on the beautiful Oregon coast near Newport, which
Jill Heather
Jun 04, 2012 Jill Heather rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I have nothing against "how we got him" mysteries; I rather like them, though they're harder to pull off well. I don't automatically dislike romance in a mystery, though I think it is not necessary in every book.

But this book just didn't pull either off well enough. There was nothing interesting in how they got him, nothing cleverly plotted or insightfully characterised. The romance seemed tacked on, as if knowing there was a single woman and a single man, they had to end up paired off. (view sp
This is a really good inverted detective story that I had a hard time putting down! There are 3 generations of Markov women tied to the small coastal town of Silver Bay, Oregon. Marnie, the mother of Stef, and Van, Stef's daughter. Van is 29 years old and studying to be a doctor; she has a young son, but never had a husband. Stef is a tortured artist and seems to suffer from bipolar disorder; she's been married many times and she's just about to divorce her latest husband, Dale. To this town com ...more
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Kate Wilhelm has won the Hugo and several Nebula Awards. She is the widow of author and editor Damon Knight.
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