William Morrow is reprinting a trio of Thomas Swan's Inspector Jack Oxby novels. For the discriminating mystery reader who would appreciate a dash of fine art with his detective story, one cannot beat this Inspector of New Scotland Yard's Art and Antiquities Squad.
The first, "The Da Vinci Deception" (279 pages), involves a daring plot to auction off a forgery of Leonardo Da Vinci's sketch of his masterpiece, the Mona Lisa.
In addition to a fine story, there are interesting details of the great Renaissance genius as well as some stunning descriptions of northern Italy and the beautiful Lake Como district.
In his second case, Inspector Oxby investigates the deliberate destruction of a number of self-portraits of the artist, Paul Cezanne, "The Cezanne Chase" (307 pages).
Jack Oxby has a tough case as he must find and stop a dangerous lunatic who is destroying the works of the great Post-Impressionist painter.
In this engaging story, fine art meets high finance and the results are lethal. Swan gives his reader a rare glimpse into the workings of the great auction houses and some fascinating information on how realistic reproductions of a masterpiece can be made in this digital age.
My personal favorite of these three jewels is the last work, "The Final Faberge" (308 pages).
While on holiday, Oxby is asked to search for what may be the last of the legendary Imperial Easter Eggs created by the incomparable Carl Peter Faberge which was commissioned by the infamous monk, Grigori Rasputin.
Set against the backdrop of the tumultuous history of Russia and with lush descriptions of the artistry of the great Imperial jeweler, "The Final Faberge" is a gem of a story.
Thomas Swan's "tea-hating" detective from New Scotland Yard's Art and Antiquities Squad, Jack Oxby, is a cut above the common detective and his stories make wonderful reading on these cold, winter days.