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A Glancing Light by Aaron J. Elkins

A Glancing Light (original 1991; edition 1991)

by Aaron J. Elkins

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194460,720 (3.44)5
Title:A Glancing Light
Authors:Aaron J. Elkins
Info:New York : Ballantine Books, 1992, c1991.
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:mystery fiction, art, Germany, amateur detective, read in 2012, DNF

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A Glancing Light by Aaron Elkins (1991)



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In The Glancing Light Norgren is now working a a Seattle Art Gallery in the same capacity as a curator of Renaissance and Baroque art. A very valuable Ruben's portrait is found mixed in with a shipment of "authentic reproductions. ' After Chris examines the painting and finds that it is the real thing, he is given a job following up the transaction to see how such a thing could have happened

This quest takes him to the beautiful city of Bologna, which happens to be a place he has visited before and looks forward to seeing it again. The theme is interesting and once again the argument comes up about what is art.

For my part I would be happy to see any of these paintings, in the origin; or as a forgery.

The way I get to see a bit deeper into the art world is by series such as these which bring me tremendous pleasure. With Google images by my side at all times via my Ipad I get vicarious trips to exotic locations and beautiful museums.

( )
  Condorena | Apr 2, 2013 |
Chris Norgren is an art curator who now works in a museum in Seattle. He is sent to Bologna, Italy to help expedite a shipment of art work to Seattle for a show. Just before he leaves he gets involved with the recovery of a stolen painting. Chris has a nose for funny business and it begins to twitch like a rabbits as he scents skulduggery in the background of this find and he will get more deeply involved with thee stolen works of art when he gets to Bologna.

This book was as good as a trip to that beautiful city if you keep Google images close at hand so you, the reader can actually see the piazzas, the statuary and all the sites Elkins so eloquently describes as well as numerous paintings that he also brings to life.

I am so sorry that there is only one more book in this particular series because I am enjoying the experience. ( )
  Condorena | Apr 2, 2013 |
Aaron Elkins’ mystery novels are efficiently plotted, capably written, and populated by amiable amateur-detective heroes and eccentric supporting characters. Their central puzzles are competently constructed, and competently resolved, with clues that hang together and murderers whose motivations, when revealed, make sense. All of which is to say that Elkins writes solid, middle-of-the-road whodunits that give good value for the money, but seldom rock the reader’s world. What sets Elkins apart from scores of other journeyman mystery writers, and (I suspect) keeps his work in print, is the way he writes about expertise.

Elkins’ lead characters – anthropologist Gideon Oliver, art historian Chris Norgren, golfer Lee Ofsted – may be amateurs at detection, but they’re consummate pros at their “real” jobs, with national or even (in Oliver’s case) international reputations in their fields. Their expertise isn’t just a pretext for getting them involved in mysteries, but central to resolving them, and Elkins – who clearly knows a lot about their fields himself – does a superb job of weaving inside dope into the stories and educating readers as he entertains them. His competent-but-unspectacular handling of plot and character serve him well, in this respect, functioning as a framework for the inside dope without distracting from it, or making it feel like a distraction, the way it might in a more elaborately plotted or emotionally intense story.

How much you enjoy an Elkins novel likely has a great deal to do with how interested you are in the subject where the hero’s expertise lies. If the inside dope fails to fascinate, you’re left with a competent but unremarkable whodunit indistinguishable from scores of others. I hit that point about eight books into the Gideon Oliver series (where the subject was forensic anthropology), but only half-a-book into the Chris Norgren series (where the subject was European art). The details of art history, and staging a traveling exhibition, were as deftly presented as ever, but they didn’t grab and hold my attention enough to keep me reading past the midpoint of an essentially routine mystery.

Your mileage – here, even more than in most matters of literary taste – may vary, though. If art (or Italian cooking, a running subtheme in the book) fascinates you, rest assured that – in A Deceptive Clarity, and doubtless in Norgren’s other two adventures – Elkins is a expert teacher and a knowledgeable guide. ( )
  ABVR | Jan 3, 2013 |
Not bad, not wonderful. It's a little too similar to the first Skeleton Detective story - Europe, traveling, accidental mixup with a crime, police considering the hero as mostly a nuisance, light physical damage and the threat of much worse, and the final revelation of who the criminal is - someone presented as a friend. Bah. I dislike unreliable narrators - when I'm told something as a fact and later discover the author and/or the character lied to me. This whole thing seemed unnecessarily baroque, as well. Not terrible, but not my favorite Norgren story, either. ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Dec 16, 2010 |
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With sincere thanks to Jay Gates, the real director of the real Seattle Art Museum, who has all the virtues and none of the faults of his fictional counterpart, Tony Whitehead
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"It's perfectly safe," Tony said with his most engaging would-I-lie? grin.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0449148297, Mass Market Paperback)

When a priceless stolen masterpiece is discovered among a shipment of reproductions to a Seattle art musuem, the mild mannered, law-abiding curator, Chris Norgren, reluctantly agrees to find out how the painting got there. All too soon, what should have been a pleasant interlude in Italy turns into a bizarre odyssey into shady art world doings and deadly secrets....
"A remarkable storyteller....I look forward to reading more exploits of this appealing sleuth."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:15 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A Seattle museum curator, investigates a two-year-old international art theft in Italy.

(summary from another edition)

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