The Flanders Panel, by Arturo Perez-Reverte

Book 41

This novel, by the author of The Club Dumas, has been sitting on my shelf for a very long time.  I pulled it because I needed an anti-Charlotte Simmons.  It worked.

The premise is that a restorer of art is working on a 15th century piece called The Game of Chess when she discovers that there is a hidden inscription- painted over, she later determines, by the author itself.  What does it mean and why does he do it?

Julia, the restorer, visits a great art historian (and former lover) to help her out.  He writes up a report and “accidentally” takes a fall in the bathtub.

The game begins.

The interesting thing is – and I seem to remember such a device from The Club Dumas – that the mystery of the painting is resolved to everyone’s satisfaction rather early.  There is, however, a chess playing stalker in on the action by that point.

The European art/antique world developed here made for a brilliant setting.  For a moment, it was so blase and hedonistic that I almost expected vampires on the scene.

While there were several small things that irritated me (stop smoking in front of the naked, priceless work of art!), overall this book was a whole lot of fun.

There were several small things about this story that bothered me, but overall I enjoyed every page.

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