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A Trace of Deceit

(Victorian Mystery #2)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  152 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Winner of the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for Historical Fiction

A Paperback Original

From the author ofA Dangerous Duet comes the next book in her Victorian mystery series, this time following a daring female painter and the Scotland Yard detective who is investigating her brother’s suspicious death.

A young painter digs beneath the veneer of Victorian London’s art world
ebook, 416 pages
Published December 17th 2019 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  152 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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3.5 stars

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Annabel has been working to trust her brother again after he is released from jail for counterfeiting paintings but when she arrives at his flat to find two plainclothes detectives, she knows something is direly wrong.
With her art world knowledge, Annabel could be a tremendous help to Inspector Matthew as he searches for an art thief and murderer but
Mackenzie - PhDiva Books
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
A Victorian mystery with everything you could want—a strong leading lady, a murder in London’s art world, a meticulous detective, and a missing painting. A Trace of Deceit is a gripping and complex mystery set in the world of Victorian London’s art scene that historical mystery fans will not want to miss!

Though it’s the second in a series by Karen Odden, A Trace of Deceit definitely works as a stand-alone mystery. The series is based on the time period and our leading detective Matthew Hallam.
Anne Morgan
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Annabel Rowe has been slowly working to reconcile with her brother Edwin, but one day she arrives at his flat to discover two detectives there with the news that Edwin is dead. Murdered, with a valuable painting he had been cleaning now missing. Annabel needs to understand what happened to her brother to gain some closure on his death (and life) and she convinces Inspector Matthew Hallam that her knowledge of the art world and Edwin will prove valuable to discovering his murderer. But what they ...more
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I probably shouldn't say this, but this is my favorite of my three books. In writing, as with most things, there is no substitute for experience, and as I developed this book, I simply had more tools at hand to create rounded characters. I also had enough faith in the process to let the characters speak back to me and add their own nuance and complexity to my initial plot, and to let myself feel the depth of all of Annabel's emotions--even the most uncomfortable ones--the wistful longing, her ...more
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“I think all of our memories have a trace of deceit in them.” Trace of Deceit is the second book I’ve read by Karen Odden, and I LOVED everything about it. Annabel and Matthew are delightful characters, not perfect but human and realistic. Ms. Odden has clearly done her research because her descriptions of art, painting and the auction world are detailed and expansive. She doesn’t shy away from the ugliness of human nature, especially when Matthew’s case takes the pair to visit the boarding ...more
I just really love these books.
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My patient anticipation of A Trace of Deceit was sweetly rewarded when I began started reading on New Year's Day, and most of it was spent reading it! It did not disappoint as I have found in the previous novels of Karen Odden.

It was easy to fall into the world of Annabel Rowe as she finds out that her brother Edwin Rowe is dead, and not just that, he's been murdered. But for what and why? Annabel is determined to find out what happened to her older brother? She feels guilty of not feeling that
Norah Gibbons
Nov 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC of this book to read through Edelweiss+ in exchange for a fair review. A Trace of Deceit is the third book in Karen Odden’s Victorian Mystery series. It can be read as a stand-alone. Artist Edwin Rowe has been murdered and his death seems to be tied to a missing painting, one that was supposed to have been destroyed in a fire five years previously. Annabel Rowe also an artist is determined to solve the mystery of her brothers death at a time when he finally seemed to be getting ...more
Linda Rorex
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This second book from the Victorian Mystery series by Karen Odden tells the story of Annabel Rowe and her quest to find the killer who murdered her brother Edwin. Inspector Matthew Hallam from Scotland Yard is sent to investigate Edwin’s murder. Matthew with the help of Annabel uncover deceit and deceptions in the art world. I really enjoyed reading this cozy mystery book. I received this free book and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Originally published at Reading Reality

“I think all our memories have a trace of deceit in them,” at least according to Inspector Matthew Hallam, the hero of our story – and of the previous book in this series, A Dangerous Duet.

He’s not wrong, not in the context of the story, and not in real life, either. It’s been said that looking at a memory is like opening a page in a book, and that every time we do so, we change it just a little bit – blur the edges, smudge a section, make it sound better –
Lauren James  (storied.adventures)
Full review on my blog, Storied Adventures!

I don't know how else to say it except that this was a relaxing and cozy read. It was perfect to wrap up my year with. A perfect Winter read. I loved learning a bit about the art world and art itself. This is one of those instances where I can really say I learned something from reading a fictional book! I loved Annabel's determined, yet kind spirit. Matthew was a great fit for her! And I hurt really badly after finding out Edwin's secret. So sad!
Dec 24, 2019 rated it liked it
An engaging Victorian mystery involving a murder and the disappearance of a priceless French painting. Delving into the dubious goings on of the better known auction houses makes the mystery even more compelling.
Annabel Rowe, art student and sister of the murder victim, is a charming protagonist.
This is #2 in a series. I did not read #1 but it didn’t seem to make a difference. I quite enjoyed this one.
Dec 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
It's a cozy historical mystery!

This is the 2nd book in the Victorian Mystery series (A Dangerous Duet is the first). Think of it as Downton Abbey, Sherlock Holmes and a cozy crime story in one!

A Trace of Deceit is a suspenseful story with secrets and a setting that perfectly captures the underbelly of London’s art world in a bygone era.

It's about a young painter who digs beneath the veneer of Victorian London’s art world to learn the truth behind her brother’s murder...

I enjoyed this
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes the things that seem obvious, the acts that seem to be a continuation of wrong doing of the past, a casual indifference to a loved one all come together to cause you pain and make you see that your outlook on life is colored by others.
Annabelle wasn't shocked to find out Edwin was dead. He had, after all, very recently come out of prison for art forgery.
Yes, he had proclaimed his innocence but did anyone believe him?
As this story unfolds, the heroine finds herself getting deeper and
Kathleen Gray
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Edwin drank too much, gambled too much, and wasted his talent forging art created by others. However, he was Annabel's brother and she is determined to find out what happened to him. Luckily, Inspector Matthew Hallem has been assigned his case and he's willing to let her assist him in the inquiry, especially since she's a talented artist with connections in that realm he doesn't have. Edwin was in the process of restoring a painting when he was murdered = a painting which went missing. These two ...more
Michelle Kenneth -
I absolutely loved this Victorian tale wrapped in solving a murder in the art world. I will say that I thought I had it all figured out midway through the book, only to be completely wrong, because Odden does not introduce the real evidence until the last half of the book. I literally sat there thinking I had this all wrong.

I love that Odden used a woman as the lead character to work with police to find out who killed her brother. She was respected, not tossed to the side because she was a
Dec 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love a good historical mystery. I get to learn about some aspect of history, in this case the Victorian art world, while enjoying a good whodunnit. This book was no exception. I was a little hesitant, since this was book 2 in a series, but as it happens the books are set in the same general time frame, but are not truly related.

The story centers around the murder of an artist during an art theft. A valuable French painting goes missing while being restored. Only after its disappearance do the
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
This follow up to the first in the Victorian Mystery series satisfied and seemed to be a tad tighter in terms of plot. The focus now is on Annabelle, an aspiring artist, who shares artistic tendencies with her troubled older brother Edwin. When Edwin is murdered she forms an alliance with Matthew, the Scotland Yard detective from the first book in the series. The author establishes the time period really well through the happenings in the art world and auction houses of the time.
Dottie Lootens
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I just finished A Trace of Deceit at midnight last night. It is a compelling mystery that held my attention throughout. I especially enjoyed the exquisite and precise use of the English language in the descriptions of scenes and characters. Looking forward to the next Victorian Mystery.
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-era, mystery
I received this book from Library Thing Early Reader.

Every other Tuesday Annabel Rowe would meet with her brother, Edwin, for dinner. He'd let her know where to meet the Monday before. This week she hadn't heard from him. In light of this, she went to his flat to see if he was there. Instead she was greeted by two men from Scotland Yard. Edwin had been murdered in his flat.

Edwin's murder wasn't the only thing that had occurred at his flat. A valuable French painting had also been stolen. A
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am a big fan of books that center on art. A Trace of Deceit is a bit about art, both painting and the artists that paint. It centers on a brother and sister, both with talent but one is murdered. Edwin and Annabel did not have a happy childhood; both showed signs of artistic talent but Edwin was far better and Annabel is a woman so what good would it do her? Their father was not kind to either one of them but he was far worse to Edwin as he thought he was wasting his talent. He sent Edwin away ...more
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog-tours
Thanks to William Morrow and TLC Book Tours for the free copy in exchange for my honest review and blog tour feature

This is book two in the Victorian Mystery series by Karen Odden. Book one was A DANGEROUS DUET (4 stars for me!) and I was looking forward to continuing the series. A TRACE OF DECEIT can be read as a standalone, so if it sounds of interest then you don’t need to worry about feeling lost if you start here.

Another solid historical fiction meets mystery read and I was completely
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have read this book more than once, for the reason that every time I go through it, I pick up more details and more historical context. Karen Odden's mystery is thoroughly researched and gripping; her protagonist, Annabel Rowe, is intelligent and engaging (not at all a delicate, wifty Victorian lady), and Inspector Hallam is multidimensional and comprehensively developed. The mystery plot leads you from the highest reaches of the art world to the darkest back alleys of 1870s London, making ...more
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, edelweissplus
Karen Odden's A Trace of Deceit is a delightful read: an historical mystery with lively characters and enough plot twists to keep readers guessing. The narrative starts with the murder of an artist. HIs sister and a Scotland Yard plainclothesman join forces to try to solve the case. Along the way, one can learn a fair bit about late 19th Century England: British responses to the conflict between Germany and France, the role obscure laws can still play in daily life, the change in tenor and ...more
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
It is always nice to start out the year with a book you enjoy. Now I will admit the beautiful cover of A Trace of Deceit drew me to it, however it was Annabel, her brother Erwin and how they were enmeshed in the art world that kept me flying through the pages.
A murder mystery, a family drama, a view of the art world and a slow burn romance combine to tell this story. A what a beautiful blend it creates! The description of the art work and the inner workings of the art world, in particular,
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though I am a devoted fan of mysteries, especially historical ones, this is the first book I have read by Karen Odden. It certainly will not be the last.

The title comes from a quote in the book: “I think all of our memories have a trace of deceit in them.” This hints at the fact that as the mystery unfolds there is an underlying theme of things not always having been what was first learned or memories recalled were not always complete or accurate.

I found the characters to be interesting
Tiffany Hannick
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an amazing story about Annabel Rowe finding peace while helping a Scotland yard inspector find out who murdered her brother. Along the way she uncovered secrets that helped she’d light on why her brother was so angry as a young man. During the journey to get answers memories that she had forgotten came back to her allowing her to remember better times with the brother that she loved yet worried after as well. During the investigation she starts to see her brother in a new light. She ...more
Julia Wilson
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the second Karen Odden book I have read (A Lady In the Smoke was the first) and I enjoyed both of them. A mystery, with a little romance tucked in and set in Victorian England, A Trace of Deceit is about the world of art forgery and the early days of art auctions. Annabel Rowe is a sturdy heroine and if you have to suspend your disbelief a little as she accompanies a detective from Scotland Yard around London, it's worth it.
Mb Thomas
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I just finished A Trace of Deceit and am in awe of the detail, structure of language, depth of character, and amount of research that must’ve been involved in writing this novel. It was captivating in story line, educational in historical detail, mesmerizing in the use of language, and a page turner from beginning to end. What a fascinating tale and I look forward to reading anything and everything Karen Odden writes. Read. This. Book.
Megan Williams Williams
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This series is truly amazing. It is well researched, great characters, good plot and wonderful dialog. This is the second one. The first book was on music and this was on art in Victorian London. There is a mystery, Scotland Yard, corruption, bribery and history. READ THEM. We want to see MORE!
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