A Grave Talent by Laurie R. King
Heartily recommended, July 18, 2003
Reba White Williams
from New York, NY United States
An excellent book I'd heartily recommend to anyone interested in mysteries/thrillers with an art twist. It is a San Francisco police investigation, revolving around a famous female artist, Vaun Adams, who has been in jail (under another name) for the murder of a child. When three more little girls are murdered near her current home, a hippie enclave, she's the logical suspect. But the detectives almost immediately conclude that she was wrongly convicted the first time, and is the victim of a frame by someone who hates her. The art elements (the description of her work, of her studio, and of her) as well as the characterizations, settings, private lives, motivations and detection are handled extremely well. The identification of the criminal, and the police pursuit of Vaun Adam's enemy, trying to catch him before he can kill again, is packed with suspense. As far as I know, King has not written again about the art world. I wish she would. I think I've read every art-related mystery still in print, and a lot that aren't, and this is one of the best. She includes the perfect amount of information about art and the artist, enough so the reader has a sense of it, an understanding of the plot, but not enough to bore the reader.