An elderly Russian ballerina who defected to the west decides to put her jewels on auction. She thinks to put her demons to rest, but instead, the rep...moreAn elderly Russian ballerina who defected to the west decides to put her jewels on auction. She thinks to put her demons to rest, but instead, the repercussions bring her past vividly alive.
A professor, adopted as an infant, inherited an amber necklace from his true birth parents. He once approached the ballerina, knowing it was similar to a set among her jewels. She forcefully turned him away. News of the auction, while he's still recovering from his wife's death, convinces him to try again to find out more about his origins.
A young woman with the auction company is researching all the jewels, to provide color and history of the jewels to entice bidders. She becomes an accomplice in chasing down the provenance of the amber set and his necklace.
This is a lovely read, made more enjoyable by the descriptions of the ballerina's jewels before different chapters. I remained engrossed as sections seamlessly went back and forth between the past and present.
When I started this, I'd just finished another book about a little boy. Also, I'd read another story a while back about a boy being rescued out of the...moreWhen I started this, I'd just finished another book about a little boy. Also, I'd read another story a while back about a boy being rescued out of the water. So I was expecting pretty much another mystery. I was wrong.
While our heroine is traveling on a Lake Champlain ferry, she sees a boy fall off another ferry going in the opposite direction. With no one around to see or scream to, she plunges into the water to save him. There's a lot of description about her being a poor swimmer and her despair that she'll find him and when she does manage to find him, whether they'll survive the cold water.
The risk of hypothermia is glossed over, but I couldn't help wondering if someone would really survive for as long a time as it seemed she and the boy were in the water. This made me a little skeptical of the plot, but once I accepted this is fiction, and they survived in the story, I couldn't stop reading.
Turns out the boy, who speaks only French, was held captive by two men and heard his mother being killed, then dumped him off the boat. He is quite pitiful, saying his mother is dead and his father doesn't want him. (He overheard the men talking about the father refusing to pay more ransom.)
Naturally, our heroine isn't going to give him up to a man who doesn't want him. She decides against going to the police. She'll find the boy's father herself to see what the truth is. If the boy is right...
By this time, she's bonded with the boy. She'll assess the situation, then decide what to do with him.
The father is... I won't go into the whole plot, but suffice it to say our heroine finds herself telling her old boy friend goodbye (she wasn't sure the relationship was going anywhere anyway) and finding herself a couple of possibilities for a new one as she untangles who kidnapped the boy and killed his mother.
I really liked this book. It reminded me of some old romantic suspense stories I grew up on, updated for modern times.(less)
The hero is a geek recluse who can't relate to people. He hangs out at his mountain lake retreat and sends out a financial newsletter with predictions...moreThe hero is a geek recluse who can't relate to people. He hangs out at his mountain lake retreat and sends out a financial newsletter with predictions like what the new Russian election will mean to investors. He has a good following and is able to hide away, from people. One he occasionally sees is his webmistress. He wishes he were brave enough to approach her on a personal level.
One day, watching Canadian geese on the lake, he spies a naked woman coming out of the water after a swim. Uncomfortable with his role as voyeur, he goes back to work. A few minutes later, he glances out again and sees a little boy running through the woods in pajamas.
To sum it all up, the naked lady was the little boy's protector and she's been killed but not till she got a warning off to the boy.
The hero does what he should do--calls security at his lake subdivision--but that doesn't work out. Soon the geek is involved in fighting off Russian thugs and dodging bullets to keep the eight-year-old boy safe. As the webmistress enters the story to save them when they get stranded in a motel, boats, paragliders, and other story quirks keep us entertained.
I would have given this four stars, but the eight-year-old survived by knowing way more than he should. He seemed like a man instead of an intelligent boy.
But this is a nice chase book and keeps us entertained.(less)
I wavered a bit but finally purchased a Kindle copy of this when it was on sale. I was afraid it would be another book like Tartt's "The Goldfinch" an...moreI wavered a bit but finally purchased a Kindle copy of this when it was on sale. I was afraid it would be another book like Tartt's "The Goldfinch" and wasn't sure I wanted to read it. Then a friend gave me a print copy, saying I might enjoy it. So I started reading and found she was right. It had a story that I could get into.
The heroine, who paints reproductions for a company specializing in them, has been blacklisted by the art world. The reason isn't at first apparent, but as what happened is tantalizingly unveiled, I found myself sympathizing despite her questionable judgement in doing what she did.
So when an acquaintance, a famous art gallery owner, asks if she'll do a copy for him in exchange for him putting on a show of her paintings, she's at once eager and afraid of what she's jumping into. It seems the painting he wants reproduced is one stolen in 1990 from a famous Boston museum. The gallery owner says he has a buyer who knows it's stolen, that once the transaction is done he intends to return the painting to the museum.
She isn't terribly hard to convince. After all, what harm will be done? A buyer who knows he's buying a stolen painting deserves what he gets. And the museum will recover one of its stolen artworks.
Of course, things never go as planned.
This is a tale not only delving into how stolen art is used in the world of drugs and gunrunners and other such illegal activities where it is collateral for million dollar deals; it is also an interesting lesson on how forgeries of masterpieces can be done, and how sometimes museums and galleries collude to present forgeries as the real thing.
Some things seemed unrealistic: like how one show in a prestigious gallery will ensure an artist's future or how much money artists and their managers, supporters, and sponsors can actually hope to make. But the story was engrossing. Every time I left it to do something else, I thought about getting back to it.
Anyone who enjoys a mystery based on real life (in 1990, the named Boston museum actually had a theft of several important paintings that have never been found) will enjoy this.