Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Bernini Bust (Jonathan Argyll, #3)” as Want to Read:
The Bernini Bust (Jonathan Argyll, #3)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Bernini Bust (Jonathan Argyll #3)

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  887 ratings  ·  60 reviews
When art dealer Jonathan Argyll arrives in Los Angeles to drop off a painting, he discovers that there are a few devils loose in the City of Angels
Paperback, 272 pages
Published March 1st 2001 by Berkley (first published January 1st 1992)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Bernini Bust, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Bernini Bust

Vanished Smile by R.A. ScottiThe Forger's Spell by Edward DolnickThe Art Forger by Barbara A. ShapiroThe Rape of Europa by Lynn H. NicholasPriceless by Robert K. Wittman
Art Fraud And Theft
9th out of 138 books — 92 voters
Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy ChevalierThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeThe Da Vinci Code by Dan BrownThe Birth of Venus by Sarah DunantThe Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier
Art & Artists in Fiction
110th out of 469 books — 778 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,350)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
This book has been sitting on my shelf for years. It was okay but not great. Some Murder, She Wrote episodes are more suspenseful.
This unassuming paperback had been sitting on my bookshelf for years before I finally got around to reading it. I'm not sure where it came from originally, as mysteries aren't generally my genre of choice. This was a fast-paced, cute read and I enjoyed it for what it was. The mystery wasn't terribly mysterious and there weren't many clues dangled about so the reader could play detective along with Jonathan Argyll and Flavia. The audience was meant to passively go along with the ride.

One major co
aPriL does feral sometimes
I think this is a VERY lightweight novel - light on plot and on characters. Almost nothing on art was included, and it could have been located anywhere since very little of Los Angeles was mentioned except a couple of passing generalized witticisms. However, it's number three in the series about Jonathan Argyll and Flavia di Stefano, who at the moment may never get together since Argyll might be transferred to England.

Flavia is phoning it in at her research/investigator job in Italy, depressed
An art / art history thriller - what's not to like? Well, actually, Iain Pears writes as if he'd never been to Los Angeles. His grasp of geography, local custom, and speech patterns seems distinctly British rather than Californian. The story sails along well enough, but I never found it more than mildly engaging, and if you don't see the shocking twists at the end, well, you're paying even lees attention than I did. They're pretty apparent from far off.
I normally enjoy Pears' mysteries, and this one, too had its share of twists and turns, or moments that should have been them. Maybe I am getting a bit too familiar with his handwriting. But, well, if we are constantly reminded of a policeman's toothache, why is it that I am not surprised when he has a nasty fit in a critical situation? And so on. Not to mention the rather clumsy brushstrokes for all the American characters, in contrast to the European ones who irritatingly demonstrated that it ...more
A really great book shows us how everything is great and worth to die for
I have read Ian Pears' work before, An Instance of the Fingerpost and The Dream of Scipio, and very much enjoyed them, but was unaware of his "Art History Mysteries," one of which is this novel. Fortunately, Sonya L. Moore dropped this book off to me and I will be reading the others in this series. Well written, literate and entertaining, this is a good read and I look forward to others like it. From Amazon:British art historian Jonathan Argyll is in sunny Los Angeles conducting some profitable ...more
Very clever! Written in the tradition of a classic mystery novel, the reader has the opportunity to sort truth from rumor and discover the murderer. After reading three novels in a row that were more romance than mystery, this was a completely refreshing read. I must confess, I was caught completely unaware. The clues were all there, but I was distracted by the primrose path. I fully plan to read another in this series, and I hope I will be more prepared to match wits with the author then. The r ...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here& in July 2000.

The third of Pears' Jonathan Argyll novels is by far the most wide ranging in setting, much of the action (including the murder) taking place in Los Angeles rather than Italy, the country which basically contains the other stories. Jonathan travels there because he has sold a Titian to a minor Californian museum for an inflated price. (The museum was set up by billionaire Arthur Moresby because purchases could be written off against tax.)

Althea Ann
In The Bernini Bust, a privately owned Los Angeles museum has just made two unusual purchases – a painting that doesn't really fit into the museum's collection, from lovable but rather bumbling dealer Jonathan Argyll, and an assortment of half-rate (and possibly fake) classical sculpture from a known-to-be-crooked dealer. However, it soon turns out that the latter dealer was tricked into smuggling a valuble marble bust by the famous Bernini out of Italy (which of course means that Flavia, from t ...more
This is the third book in Iain Pears’ mystery series involving Jonathan Argyll, Flavia di Stefano, and General Bottando of the Italian National Art Theft Squad. Art, history, a well thought out mystery…what more could I ask for!

Jacket notes: Jonathan Argyll has finally done something right--he’s sold an overpriced Titian to a well-endowed museum in L.A. Not had for an art dealer who thinks selling paintings is the most unpleasant part of his job. And never mind that the Moresby Museum is known m
Julie Defilippi
I think this is the best installment in this series so far. The mystery was far more developed and explored than in the previous books. However, if you are reading for the art history, I found that to be less prevalent than in previous books. I also missed the more regular appearance of Bottando. The perception of California by Europeans was hilarious.
Just like another's experience, this book had been on my shelf for a while with no idea where it came from. Maybe Mr Pears breaks into households and plants his books onto shelves either in the hope they will be read or will grow? Enjoyable read, what the da Vinci code might have been without all the bollocks
Another author who, like Donna Leon, is starting to phone in the plots but is still predictably fun to read. This one is about a museum scam and since I know that world from volunteering, I found it amusing. It's one of the earlier ones in the series and I like those the best.

Content rating: PG.
ci vogliono impegno e capacità per scrivere un giallo sistematicamente implausibile, contorto, risibile, piatto e pieno di errori il vero problema è che il libro è mortalmente n-o-i-o-s-o

I enjoyed this art history murder mystery. There were some surprising revelations about what actually happened to the Bernini Bust and a murder mystery with plots and twists that kept the story interesting. Plus there was art history told within the story. A fun book to read.
Martin Mulcahey
Plot and humor make up for a bad location. This is the third in the Argyll series. For me it is better then the Titian Committee, but falls short of The Raphael Affair's fast pace. I have to agree with the people who say that having the mystery take place in California, vice Europe, takes some of the enjoyment out of this read. However, I thought the ending had great charm, and the way in which the mystery was 'solved' gave it a good twist. It is the most humorous of the three so far (the charac ...more
I enjoy this series of light hearted mysteries by Iain Pears. They are usually set in Rome and involve the art world. Flavia is an irrepressible policewoman on the Rome Police Art Squad and is a perfect match for Jonathan Argyll who is a laid back and somewhat incompetent Englishman and art expert. The series maintains sexual tension between the two main characters and along the way they solve mysteries involving priceless works of art....and murder. In this episode the action moves to Los Angel ...more
Victor Сонькин)
Strange that it's written by the same person as An Instance of the Fingerpost; as a detective story, it's no more than okay, with very little in-depth art history in the background.
These Iain Pears books are fun, I think this is the third I've read. You learn a little about art, I like the dynamic between Jonathan and Flavia the Italian art detective.
Read this series years ago, and came upon this book when doing some cleanup. A quick, fast, fun read.
Leone Moffat
Worth a quick read - not as good as book 1 and 2.
Fun quick read. Italian art is highly underrated. No seriously.
Galen Johnson
Jonathan Argyll has sold a Titian to an L.A. museum, and delivers it in person. However, at a reception prior to the completion of the sale, the man who purchased the Titian is killed. Jonathan is pursued by the killer, although he thinks he has no idea who did it, and soon he must be rescued by the woman who he thought he could learn to live without.

Smart, quick, interesting. Not the best Argyll mystery, but a fun read.
Jan C
This was a fairly light mystery set in the art world, obviously. Question is, why do they want Jonathan Argyll to deliver the Titian he has just sold to the museum in person?

Actually this book is one tax dodge after another. And I suppose I liked that part of it. They didn't mind how much they spent as long as they made sure that Uncle Sam couldn't get any of it. I suppose that is one way to go if you are rich enough.
I really am enjoying this series it gets better the more books that I read. This author twists and turns the plot so that you have a plot within a plot. It is to the authors credit that the paths of modern-day mystery, ancient empires, and religious faith collide so effortlessly. His training as an art historian gives you great insight into some of the worlds most precious art objects. A great read.
Third opus of Pears in his delightful art mystery series. We meet Jonathan Argyll in LA where he find himself involved in a murder, a theft of a Bernini and to top it off he finds himself faced with returning to London. The theft of the Bernini brings Flavia to LA and lots of wacky things happen, an interesting LA detective provides technical support. It's light reading but fun and delightful reading.
Annie Oosterwyk
This story takes place in LA, and therefore lacks some of the charm of the previous books in the series. Alternatively, it provides Americans a chance to see how they might appear to non-Americans/Europeans in the art world. It is not a flattering portrait. I just read on the back cover that Pears lives in Oxford, England. I wonder if he is a native?
Ian Pears, author of An Instance of the Fingerpost, Stone's Fall, and The Dream of Scipio, wrote a series of mysteries which revolve around the world of art dealing. Most of them are set in and around Rome. They are good reads, but not nearly as literary as his other books. They are good for a quick read, witty and not violent. Fun stuff.
Pretty disappointing “art history mystery.” This seemed like an interesting concept, but the writing frequently felt sloppy and lazy, with unconvincing dialogue, improbable sequencing, general unwillingness to resolve plot challenges in believable fashion, and thus overall high irritation factor. Not to mention little or no “art history”!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 44 45 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Old Scores (The Chris Norgren Mysteries, #3)
  • Shooting Gallery (An Art Lover's Mystery, #2)
  • Some Bitter Taste
  • Brush With Death (An Art Lover's Mystery, #3)
  • Murder at the Gardner
  • Fatal Remedies (Commissario Brunetti, #8)
  • Dead Men Don't Ski
  • Holy Disorders (Gervase Fen, #2)
  • Un peu plus loin sur la droite
  • A Cursed Inheritance (Wesley Peterson, #9)
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 Last Judgement (Jonathan Argyll, #4)
  • Giotto's Hand (Jonathan Argyll, #5)
  • Death and Restoration (Jonathan Argyll, #6)
  • The Immaculate Deception (Jonathan Argyll, #7)

Share This Book