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The Immaculate Deception
by Iain Pears
ISBN 0743422082 / 9780743422086 / 0-7434-2208-2
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A good working rule for the police is to have as little as possible to do with politicians, but Flavia, acting head of the Rome Art Squad, finds herself deprived of that luxury when the Prime Minister involves himself in the case of a painting hijacked for ransom... Iain Pears' new thriller The Immaculate Deception picks up the story of Flavia and her British art-dealer husband Jonathan at a point where they are thinking seriously about the rest of their lives--Flavia is pregnant and Jonathan is in the process of selling off his remaining stock. The last thing they need is for Flavia to find herself at the heart of a major scandal involving illegal handovers of ransom, the last gasp of 1970s terrorism and a performance artist who has drowned in a vat of plaster. Meanwhile, Jonathan sets out to track down an unattributed painting owned by Flavia's former boss, and uncovers some neat little mysteries of his own... Art scholarship and police work are not that like each other, but Iain Pears wittily explores what analogies between them there are; he is intelligent about art, and marriage and Italian politics. This is a worthy addition to a charming series. --Roz Kaveney [via]