When Zelda Richardson finds a lead about a missing portrait by Johannes Vermeer, no one expects her to find the painting. No one believes she can do it: not her parents visiting from America, not her boyfriend, not her boss private detective Vincent de Graaf, and not the rightful owner of the Nazi-looted artwork-- but she does.
When Zelda tries to pick up the portrait, she finds the art dealer dead and several frames smoldering in his fireplace. Was the Vermeer a fake? Everyone else seems to think so, but Zelda refuses to give up. Can she discover the truth?
I love art and art history. When I came across The Vermeer Deception, I couldn't resist reading it. "Art history mysteries" are one of my favorite subgenres of the mystery world. (Iain Pears' Jonathan Argyll mysteries like The Bernini Bust are wonderful.) However, I found Jennifer Alderson's book to be mostly annoying.
The one thing I did enjoy about the book was the information I gleaned about the men Hitler sent out to loot Europe of its art treasures. That was good. Unfortunately, that was the only thing. By the fourth book in a series, the doubts about a person's abilities should be dying out. Not here. No one-- not even her boss-- thought she knew what she was doing. Personally, I'd ask Vincent the boss that, if she's so inept, why is she still on the payroll? The other characters, like Zelda's mother and boyfriend, were also infuriating, and finding errors such as arms that were flaying instead of flailing didn't help.
The ending, which isn't tied up in a neat little bow, didn't bother me. What bothered me the most were the characterizations and a rather amateurish writing style. Needless to say, I'll be looking for art history mysteries elsewhere.
The Vermeer Deception by Jennifer S. Alderson
Traveling Life Press © 2020
eBook, 191 pages
Amateur Sleuth, #4 Zelda Richardson mystery
Source: Purchased from Amazon.