Mystery House

Book Reviews: From the Stacks Challenge

I’m doing pretty well with the From the Stacks reading challenge.  I’ve finished three of my five books so far, and all were worth recommending.

Painting in the Dark, by Russell James, is a scrumptious art mystery.  I have a thing for art mysteries and scoop them up whenever I find them, and this one didn’t disappoint.  I won’t go into the particulars of the plot because I hate reviews that do that, but I will say that this story features a nice dollop of history, including a peek into the social life of Hitler and his cohorts.  It has a nice twist which I didn’t see coming, and plenty of nefarious goings-on at the hands of an unscrupulous art dealer and his henchmen.  I’d say that Mr. James’s other books are worth a look.

Headlong, by Michael Frayn.  I’m on an art kick.  This author has a nice ability to write a comic story that’s also emotional and grounded in the real world.  The main character becomes obsessed with what he believes is an unknown Bruegel–which, if real, would be worth millions–and begins scheming to get it away from its owner.  I wish the ending had been handled a bit differently, although I won’t say why and give it away, but overall I liked it very much.  Delicious morsels of art history, for those of us who like those things.

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, by Marina Lewycka.  The narrator’s father falls for a mercurial and despicable gold digger, and the fur flies.  Feuding sisters who team up against Ms. Gold Dig, octogenarian who has a deep love of tractor design through the ages and who eats only microwaved apples, gold digger foolish enough to set her sights on an old man who doesn’t actually have much money–what’s not to like?


%d bloggers like this: