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The Immaculate Deception by Iain Pears
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The Immaculate Deception (edition 2000)

by Iain Pears

Series: Jonathan Argyll (7)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
716924,342 (3.61)23
From internationally bestselling author Iain Pears comes the seventh in his Jonathan Argyll series -- an intriguing mystery of love, loss, and artistic license. For newlywed and Italian art theft squad head Flavia di Stefano, the honeymoon is over when a painting, borrowed from the Louvre and en route to a celebratory exhibition, is stolen. Desperate to avoid public embarrassment -- and to avoid paying a ransom -- the Italian prime minister leans hard on Flavia to get it back quickly and quietly. Across town, her husband, art historian Jonathan Argyll, begins an investigation of his own, tracing the past of a small Renaissance painting -- an Immaculate Conception -- owned by Flavia's mentor, retired general Taddeo Bottando. Soon both husband and wife uncover astonishing and chilling secrets, and Flavia's investigation takes a sudden turn from the search for an art thief to the hunt for a murderer.… (more)
Member:rwill
Title:The Immaculate Deception
Authors:Iain Pears
Info:Scribner (2000), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 224 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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The Immaculate Deception by Iain Pears

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
A Claude picture on loan for a big international exhibition in Rome is stolen and held for ransom, but Flavia is ordered by the Prime Minister not to investigate but just hand over the ransom. What is going on?

Although it has its whimsical touches, this book is not as light-hearted as the rest of the series and in some ways is unnecessary as the previous book would have worked just as well as a wrap-up. Also I'm not entirely sure what we learn about two characters' back story is compatible with what we were told in previous books.

So it's not a bad book and would have worked well as a standalone, but it just doesn't fit in with the series as a whole in tone or, I suspect, content. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Jul 29, 2020 |
This one is the most recent in the series... It was as tightly-plotted as 'Death and Restoration,' and the writing was as good, but I didn't like it as much - for personal reasons, I have to admit: At the outset, we're informed that Flavia and Jonathan have just gotten married. Of course, she immediately turns out to be pregnant. (It has to follow in that order, even though they've been living together for years, right?) The pregnancy is obvious to the reader (when is a woman ever repeatedly nauseous in a book except when she's pregnant?) but somehow not to Flavia. But of course, she's delighted when she finds out, even though this may very well mean the end of her brilliant career in the police force (Every career woman, upon getting pregnant just 'wants to stay home and paint the kitchen,' right? Argh.)

Anyway - the plot cleverly balances Jonathan's quest to discover the provenance of a painting owned by Flavia's boss, who is planning retirement, (Of course this involves sources dropping dead and uncomfortable secrets coming to light...) and Flavia's involvement with an art theft case - where the political implications reach straight up to the Prime Minister. Radical terrorists and plots to bring down the government may be involved - but are these just dead-end leads? Again, the villains are not quite who one might expect them to be, and lies and deceptions are layered one upon the other.... ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Even though this is the last in a series of novels featuring art crime, it was still engaging and I didn’t feel as though I was at sea with regard to the characters and their situation. Yeah, there’s some backstory there that I didn’t know, but it didn’t matter to the crime. I was puzzled as to who the main character was though, none of them hogged the screen time and since there were two separate mysteries to be solved it could have gone either way.

Early on there’s mention of an old nemesis; an art thief who got away with it and I knew she’d figure into the solution, but I was a tad surprised at how. Maybe if I’d read previous books first I’d have suspected. While I have to take the author’s art expertise on faith, I have my doubts because he’s one of those writers who thinks a bullet spins a person around and knocks them backwards. Not on this planet with our current laws of physics. Sigh. It’s so disappointing to read that particular line of bullshit over and over again. Will someone get a clue, please?

Anyway, overall it’s a satisfying mystery with plenty of pastoral Italian atmosphere. It makes you want to wander Florence and Tuscany drinking wine, eating olives and appreciating art. I may pick up earlier volumes in the series when I need something relatively cozy. ( )
  Bookmarque | Oct 30, 2015 |
Iain Pears is a very talented novelist. He is probably best known for his dense historical novels – like ‘Dream of Scipio’ and ‘The Instance of the Fingerpost’. But, in these Argyll art history mysteries, Pears has a lovely light touch.

The characters are real, likeable and easy to identify with, especially Flavia, the stressed career woman, and her husband, Jonathan, the art dealer. The descriptions of Italy make you want to go there and the art theme inspires you to learn more about art history as a subject. It was learn more about Bottando and the master thief, Mary Verney. The ending is far from predictable – and, after all that, I really want to know who the artist of that bloody painting was! ( )
  Jawin | Sep 7, 2009 |
Pears does Vast Conspiracy. Did it quite well, too. I liked the ending; there really wasn't any way that Flavia, Jonathan et al could have brought down the government. ( )
  krisiti | Jul 1, 2009 |
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One morning, a fine May morning in Rome, when the sun was beaming through the clouds of carbon monoxide and dust and giving a soft, fresh feel to the day, Flavia di Stefano sat immobile in a vast traffic jam that began in the Piazza del Popolo and ended somewhere near the Piazza Venezia.
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From internationally bestselling author Iain Pears comes the seventh in his Jonathan Argyll series -- an intriguing mystery of love, loss, and artistic license. For newlywed and Italian art theft squad head Flavia di Stefano, the honeymoon is over when a painting, borrowed from the Louvre and en route to a celebratory exhibition, is stolen. Desperate to avoid public embarrassment -- and to avoid paying a ransom -- the Italian prime minister leans hard on Flavia to get it back quickly and quietly. Across town, her husband, art historian Jonathan Argyll, begins an investigation of his own, tracing the past of a small Renaissance painting -- an Immaculate Conception -- owned by Flavia's mentor, retired general Taddeo Bottando. Soon both husband and wife uncover astonishing and chilling secrets, and Flavia's investigation takes a sudden turn from the search for an art thief to the hunt for a murderer.

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