Because Restrike is a mystery set in the art world, I am often asked what art-related mysteries I’ve enjoyed. I think my list will surprise, perhaps even disappoint, some of my readers, but here goes:
Francis, Dick, In the Frame, 1976.
Francis, Dick, To the Hilt, 1997.
King, Laurie, A Grave Talent, 1993.
Marsh, Ngaio, Artists in Crime, 1938.
Why aren’t there any recent books by Bold Face names on my list? In those I’ve read, the writers do not observe the Golden Age rules of writing a mystery, evoking comments by readers like the following:
“…the clues such as they are, lead nowhere…”
“Could the guilty person at least be a suspect?”
Or the writers are “info dumpers” (see “Avoiding the Info Dump”). A friend complained recently that an art mystery she bought might have been interesting, but for too much information on the direction of brushstrokes. She never finished the book. (Neither did I.)