Xanthe's Reviews > The Art Thief

The Art Thief by Noah Charney
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's review
Feb 03, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: art-mystery-contemplation-of-art-a
Read in February, 2010

I haven't been so captivated by a book and new author for a long time. Mr. Charney gives us an education in art and thievery and morality in addition to a mystery.

Much of the book is about authentication revolving around two stolen paintings White on White and Caravaggio's Annuciation - and philosophical renderings about art, what we value, what is in our museums, why collectors collect. After reading the book, I question whether all of the paintings we value in museums are authentic. And Mr. Charney is quite knowledgeable, sharing with the reader his own depth and philosophy about painting. Read his bio - he is young, only 27 but has quite an educational background. The ending is not one surprise, but three - no four - oh, I have to reread the last few pages; it's that kind of book.

It is a mystery involving three threads - in London, Paris and Italy. Read carefully because the surprises keep coming. After I put the book down, I am still thinking about the outcome - it's complicated and satisfying in that everyone gets what they deserve.

Aside from the art itself, the cast of quirky characters is alone worth the read. The central characters are the paintings themselves but also Gabriel Coffin (don't you love the name) a bon vivant and lecturer in arts, a morose English detective in Scotland Yard's art theft department, two French gourmands whose bantering with each other (usually while eating wonderful meals) is entertaining and edifying, and an assortment of beautiful women - beautiful and intelligent.

We will hear much more from this author. You readers know what a find a new author is - and this is one of those finds.

Read it. I picked it up because the cover has a Caravaggio painting - worth a peek, I thought and I was certainly right.
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