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A Deceptive Clarity (The Chris Norgren Mysteries, #1)
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A Deceptive Clarity

(The Chris Norgren Mysteries #1)

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  658 ratings  ·  57 reviews
In Berlin to help mount an exhibit of priceless paintings, once thought lost, museum curator and Renaissance art expert Chris Norgren must turn detective when his boss is murdered soon after voicing concern over the paintings' authenticity.
Mass Market Paperback, 251 pages
Published December 4th 1993 by Fawcett (first published 1987)
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Christine Cody I always feel that you will enjoy a mystery series more if you read the books in order. For one thing, you get to know the character and then have the…moreI always feel that you will enjoy a mystery series more if you read the books in order. For one thing, you get to know the character and then have the character's history, which may be referred to in later books. It's not necessary but it certainly adds to the pleasure. In this particular case, the main character is still getting over the end of his 10-year marriage so I'm sure that he will feel freer and less burdened in later books. Hope you've read and enjoyed this series. (less)

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3.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  658 ratings  ·  57 reviews

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Jun 04, 2015 rated it liked it
A decent read, though, there were quite a few problems outside the art being described (which seemed accurate, and worked well in the story perspective.) The typos threw me off, whether they were meant as a joke (possibility), or were just due to a lack of editing (EG: Gently being spelled gentiy gets irritating after a bit, a few other words like this); and the overall story relying on a few movie tropes (admittedly), didn't help. The characters, over (Especially detective Harry), are relatable ...more
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've been pulled in by a pretty cover. I don't dislike it, but we'll see.
May 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
The art may be fake, but the murder is genuine..., February 23, 2010

A review of A Deceptive Clarity (Mass Market Paperback) by Aaron J. Elkins

A US Army soldier finds three masterpiece paintings in an old salt mine near Saltzburg, Germany. A Titian, a Rubens, and a Vermeer. These treasures had been stolen from an Italian collector's palazzo in Florence in August 1944 by fleeing Nazis.
Enter Army Colonel Mark Robey. Let's have an art exhibition for the newly-found art, persuade Claudio Bolzano to l
Nov 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
It is interesting reading an author's earliest works, especially in genre fiction. You can watch as he (or she) develops as an author, fleshing out cardboard characters as he goes, making rounded edges of abrupt plot changes.

This is especially true in this book, in which Elkins introduced a new character, an art historian named Chris Norgren. I didn't read the blurb, so I jumped into Chapter 1 expecting my friend "The Skeleton Doctor" and couldn't figure out why we were in an art museum with a b
Sep 12, 2013 rated it liked it
If I had liked more Chris I would put four stars to this review, but I think like Annie , other character of this book when she meets Chris . Above this I truly appreciated this story, I love art and I learned more things reading this book...and I'm Italian so is was nice reading in the setting environment by this series the references to Italian city and works of art . Like mystery story, still I have appreciated the clear and clever plot, the frankly speech of investigation , and the character ...more
JD Crittendon
Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Good Story!

This was a good story. The main character is an Art Curator on loan to the Defense Dept. located in Germany for showing of stolen Nazi priceless art masterpieces. There is murder, several attempted murders and a forgery masterpiece to find.
I like murder mysteries with usually premises and locations. This fits the bill. I also liked the historical information about art world/ masterpieces. Pls note this is an older novel set around 1985 or so! Interesting premise!
Liz V.
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aaron Elkins writes an enjoyable series about a forensic anthropologist, Gideon Oliver, so I thought I'd try his art mysteries (although it turns out, I have read the third in the series).

Sadly, I sat through a mandatory art appreciation class with indifference, only to regret it a few months later when I saw some of the originals in European museums. Or did I? Science now allows identification of misattributions, well executed forgeries, rediscovered stolen paintings and other mistakes in art c
Jun 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Too much art history

Chris Norgren has been hired to help oversee an important exhibit of a private collectors' paintings. Added to the collection has been four pieces recently discovered that had been confiscated by the Nazis and thought to be lost forever. His friend and mentor discloses that he has discovered a probable forgery amongst the famous paintings and challenges Chris to see if he can spot the fake. The friend leaves the next day for a quick trip and is murdered before he can return a
Vera Mottino
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Clearly a good story

Am I ever so glad to have discovered this author. He writes cleanly at a fast pace but without skipping essential details. He does not use "filler prose" either - an unfortunate habit of writers in this genre - where details of no value to the storyline are inserted - maybe because the author thinks that more words make a better book. Elkins' spare writing nevertheless draws credible characters and the plot flows easily. This is my second book by Aaron Elkins. Five stars for
I read another in this series and enjoyed it, so I have gone back to read the first in the series. I liked all the art history and descriptions of how to identify forgeries, and found the mystery to be nicely laid out, if a bit chary on clues. Having been stationed in Berlin I enjoyed the descriptions of the setting of the art exhibit our protagonist is assigned to help curate at Tempelhof Central Airport. I will continue to read this series. 3.5 stars
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you know art, you might like this book. For me, it was interesting to find out about the paintings etc, but it was not more than a fast and easy read, not much to think of. Also, first person narrative is not my favorite narrative. It becomes tiresome, like someone is nagging at your ear and you can't hear anyone else but them.
Mar 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Chris norgren, art curator, on the hunt for a forgery before the show opens...liked this character, like the art a little to technical in some spots, but I would read the next book in the series..
Marcia Ditter
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the first book of three in the series. It is a book about stolen art, arts stolen by the Nazis.
Some years later it is decided by the US military to have an art exhibition. Are all of these paintings legitimate or is there a forgery?
Read and find out.
Feb 11, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked this mystery/thriller, but I think if I were more of an art buff that it would've been better for me. At times the story really bogged down for me trying to keep up with all of the artists and paintings and still try to keep the story straight.
Jun 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Decent mystery. Lots of info about art and forgery. Will continue with the series.
Jun 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
I've read some of Elkins Gideon Oliver mysteries, long ago, and enjoyed them, so I picked up this book a few years ago and #2 in the series, and I'm just now reading them.
Reynolds Darke
Jun 04, 2018 rated it liked it
A good art-based mystery thriller.
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting mystery. For those who care, there was no explicit sex or gruesome violence.
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Clever, readable, humorous, and worth having read a second time.
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Like a lot of books I have been reading lately, this promised much at the beginning. A museum curator is charged with mounting an exhibition of twenty masterpieces plundered by the Nazis. I enjoyed the Berlin setting but the storyline got overly complicated and some of the expert's dialogue was overly pedantic. I plodded on though, through all the extra characters and the resolution was satisfying.
Gloria Mccracken
Jun 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Aaron Elkins has, over many years, written many books (sometimes with Charlotte Elkins). There is, of course, his vastly entertaining and long, long series featuring forensic anthropologist Gideon Fell. I recently read one featuring a young female art consultant named Alix London, who has a troubled pedigree. There is also, as I remember, a short series about a wine expert whose name is no longer accessible to my memory. And then there is this series featuring Chris Nordgren, a curator for an ar ...more
Nov 16, 2013 added it
Chris Norgren, museum curator and Renaissance art expert, heads to Berlin to assist in mounting a sensational exhibit: The Plundered Past--twenty priceless Old Masters looted by the Nazis, thought for decades to be lost forever, and only recently rediscovered. But things quickly get out of hand when Chris's patrician, fastidious boss, after smelling a forgery in the lot, turns up dead the very next day--on the steps of a dismal Frankfurt brothel, of all places. Now Chris faces two daunting tasks ...more
Mar 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
Set in 1986, San Francisco museum curator Chris Norgren is in Berlin to assist the U.S. military in mounting an exhibit of paintings looted by the Nazis from an Italian collector. Just before he is murdered, Chris’ boss lets on that one of the pieces in the collection is not what it seems. The book would be most interesting to readers who are fascinated by a description of the meticulous pre-internet era research to prove the authenticity of the paintings. Unfortunately, Chris is better at small ...more
Brenda Funk
Jun 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
I think this is the 2nd Aaron Elkins book I've read, and I think I'm starting to get into this series. I loved the setting -- Berlin -- because I've been there multiple times to visit my daughter, so all the places he describes resonate and are familiar. As also his trips to London, visiting the National Gallery etc. I have learned a lot about art, and the art world rife with forgeries, all manner of scandal etc. This is not a subject I am very educated in, so that is fun. I'm sure I'll be readi ...more
Catherine Schramm
Jul 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Sometimes a daily reader craves comfort reading like comfort food. Author Aaron Elkins' A Deceptive Clarity with art scholar & curator Chris Norgren was just as satisfying as Cajun chicken stew for me. A cozy mystery filled with art facts about Vermeer and other artists it was spiced with the humor of a character who blended his strengths & weaknesses like onions & roux. Cultural details about Germany, Italy, and Great Britain resulted in just the right taste as the murder was solved ...more
Mar 05, 2013 rated it liked it
I read this for my mystery book group. The book is the first in a series featuring Chris Norgren, a museum curator from San Francisco who is sent to Berlin to help coordinate a traveling exhibition of paintings which were taken by the Nazis during WWII. Although the mystery aspect of the story was rather weak, I did enjoy learning about forgeries. Interestingly, I just finished reading The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro and they were good read alikes.
Brenda Mengeling
Apr 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 49, ebook, fiction, mysteries
To enjoy this story, you would have to be interested in the world of fine art and art forgeries. I am somewhat interested in that, so I didn't find all the exposition (much of the story) too tedious, but still I remained aware that to follow the story, I had to be told a lot of things about painting and time-authentic forgeries. The protagonist was mostly enjoyable, but I found the solution to the mystery a bit unsatisfying. I didn't understand why the "bad guy" had done what he had done.
May 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
This is one of Elkins earlier books and his writing was a little less polished. For instance, he leaves out pertinent details then adds them in later as an afterthought, and his character speculates a lot in his head without really reaching any conclusions. However, I like his books and his writing, the storylines about art stolen by the Nazi's are true and very interesting.
Mrs. Juanita G. Bass
Interesting, Informative, Enjoyable

Although what seemed to be excessive and unnecessary information at times, proved to be the context necessary for a riveting story. I learned quite a bit about Italian Renaissance artists. The book was enjoyable. I recommend it to others who enjoy a good mystery with details that make it a worthwhile venture into other worlds.
Elkins, Aaron - 1st in Chris Norgren series

In Berlin to help mount an exhibit of priceless paintings, once thought lost, museum curator and Renaissance art expert Chris Norgren must turn detective when his boss is murdered soon after voicing concern over the paintings' authenticity.

I actually like this protagonist better than Gideon Oliver. Good humor.
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Aaron J. Elkins AKA Aaron Elkins (born Brooklyn July 24, 1935) is an American mystery writer. He is best known for his series of novels featuring forensic anthropologist Gideon Oliver—the 'skeleton detective'. The fourth Oliver book, Old Bones, received the 1988 Edgar Award for Best Novel. As Oliver is a world-renowned authority, he travels around the world and each book is set in a different and ...more

Other books in the series

The Chris Norgren Mysteries (3 books)
  • A Glancing Light (The Chris Norgren Mysteries, #2)
  • Old Scores (The Chris Norgren Mysteries, #3)