Lindsay Parker moved to Paris for a change of pace. Her new job as a teacher in a popular art school is the reason for this exciting opportunity.
Henri LeGrand and Mark McGovern own the art school. On the first day Lindsay shows up for work, the partners realize someone has stolen a Picasso that was in their possession and replaced it with a forgery.
While Henri handles the theft, Mark finds two undiscovered Cezanne works in an old country antique shop. He buys the paintings for a song and brings them back to the school for restoration.
This is quite an exciting development for Lindsay, as she gets to see some of the most coveted treasures of the art world.
Apparently, someone else wants to possess those treasures as well and steals them. One of Lindsay's colleagues is kidnapped and another is murdered. Anyone connected with these paintings meets with some form of violence.
Lindsay wants to help Henri and Mark get their paintings back and seek justice for the crimes committed. She teams up with insurance investigator Alain Bordeaux to try to find who is stealing the priceless paintings. It appears these events are tied to a lady named Victorine who posed long ago for several great Impressionists.
Who is Victorine? What does her past life have to do with the discovery of these paintings? What happened long ago that would make someone kill to get works of art? Lindsay Parker wants to know, but can she find the answers without becoming a victim herself? Find the truth in Mary Devlin's Parisian mystery, Portrait of Victorine.
This novel is the product of a unique idea and a fun setting. A mystery in the art capital of the world makes for interesting reading. Devlin spends little time building background information, choosing instead to head straight for the action. The theft is discovered in the second chapter and the suspense builds quickly from there. A great way to keep readers interested, but we learn little about Lindsay as a person.
The fast pace creates much excitement within the novel. However, there's some missed opportunities to go behind the scenes of the story. It would be fun to see Victorine as a young model. It would be nice to learn about the subject and science of art restoration. It would be neat to spend a few more pages within the mind of the bad guy (who shall remain nameless in this review). Learning more about the characters overall would really enhance the whodunnit experience.
What's a good mystery without a little romance? Portrait of Victorine has a little of that as well. Lindsay finds herself falling for Alain as they try to solve the crimes. I'm not a big fan of romance story lines, but I know my opinion is in the minority. Helpless romantics will enjoy the sparks between these two characters.
It's apparent that Devlin has spent significant time in Paris tracing Lindsay's fictitious steps. Readers race through city streets as well as the French countryside. It's a nice armchair traveling experience.
I read Portrait of Victorine while on vacation. The book fit my needs perfectly, helping me pass the time in lines and such. It was a good diversion that was fun to read without being too complicated.
Devlin is to be commended for creating such unique story lines. Her art background adds heartily to Portrait of Victorine. The author's versatility is further shown in Murder on the Canterbury Pilgrimage: a mystery with Geoffrey Chaucer as the sleuth.
Based on the small bio at the end of the book, it is clear that Mary Devlin is literally a Renaissance woman. Her interests and experiences have paid off in her writing. I hope to read more of her work.
That being said, I do recommend Portrait of Victorine. It's fast and fun. The Parisian mystery provides a good weekend escape into a dark and thrilling underside to the art world.