Savvy art expert Fred Taylor, factotum for a wealthy Beacon Hill collector too refined -- and too paranoid -- to do his own legwork, enjoys an odd but well-paid life acting on Clayton Reed's whims. Reed suspects that there may be a Vermeer worth millions concealed under a boring landscape coming up for auction. Fred finds his mission to get the ...
Savvy art expert Fred Taylor, factotum for a wealthy Beacon Hill collector too refined -- and too paranoid -- to do his own legwork, enjoys an odd but well-paid life acting on Clayton Reed's whims. Reed suspects that there may be a Vermeer worth millions concealed under a boring landscape coming up for auction. Fred finds his mission to get the Vermeer hindered by Reed's purchase of an unsigned nude from a down-and-out photographer of pornography who is subsequently rubbed out in his sleazy studio. With various vultures circling -- including the Boston PD -- Fred is thrust into detection in order to score the painting, if it exists, and escape jail. His biggest obstacle is to pry the truth out of his own employer....
Very Good. Book Trade paperback. Very good condition, light watermark on first few pages bottom right corner. Rest of interior bright and clean. Savvy art expert Fred Taylor acts on Clayton Reed's whims, and get well paid for it. But then Reed purchaes an unsigned nude from a down-and-out photographer of pornography-and the photographer gets killed. Now Fred has to prove he isn't the murderer.
Publishers Weekly, 1995-02-27 First-novelist Kilmer launches a promising series with this darkly humorous story about a couple of art deals turned sour in Boston. Fred Taylor, whose job skills were picked up on clandestine operations in Southeast Asia, now assists a Boston art collector. By the time Kilmer is through acquainting readers with the cutthroat side of collecting (where acquiring a painting can literally be murder), Fred's career path makes sense. First Fred's boss, aesthete Clayton Reed, wants to pick up a mediocre landscape that may be a priceless painted-over Vermeer. Reed also picks up an unsigned nude, which may possibly be the work of a major painter, from a pornographer who is soon found murdered. The suspense builds after a slow start as the art-history sleuthing-which makes murder seem mundane-gains momentum. Kilmer's prose can be self-consciously highfalutin, but his characters are lively, the context makes for a stimulating change of pace and the plot is inventive in this excellent first effort. (Apr.)
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