A stolen masterpiece with arcane allegorical significance a decades-old political kidnapping and murder and, of course, a tantalizing artwork of unknown provenance -- in his seventh Jonathan Argyll art mystery, The Immaculate Deception, English art historian Iain Pears returns with a virtuosic display of ingenious plotting and literary trompe l'oeil. Pears's clever and effortlessly erudite art mysteries have found a select readership on both sides of the Atlantic. But the phenomenal success of Pears's 1998 literary thriller, An Instance of the Fingerpost -- a multifaceted Restoration whodunit on a par with Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose -- has dramatically increased stateside interest in the author's earlier work. The Immaculate Deception once again centers on the exploits of the affable and perpetually distracted English art dealer Jonathan Argyll the beautiful and formidable Flavia di Stefano of the Italian Art Theft Squad and her erstwhile boss, General Taddeo Bottando, along with several of the series' usual -- or, more appropriately -- unusual supporting cast of suspects.
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