Monday, August 22, 2011

Novel Merges Today's Waste Dumping Issue with Classical Art--Result: A Fantastic Mystery!

Leda and the Swan, a 16th century copy after a...Image via Wikipedia
...a message posted earlier that day from Julia. I had not
seen it until now. I clicked to open the message. Her
last message: help me
There was an attachment. I clicked on its icon...the
screen filled up as the download was completed. It was
just a single picture...It showed a naked woman cradling
between her legs the head of a large swan. The woman
was corpulent, as beautiful women were supposed to be
in classical times. The swan's long neck was supremely
phallic. It was very sensual, very erotic...
That's Leda and the Swan...
So why send you an almost blank message and just
that picture?

Take No More
  (Kindle edition)

By Seb Kirby

This murder mystery turned into much more--a daring kidnapping, a husband's search, and a step into the world of art, and, specifically, lost art and the efforts used to try to find those treasures...I was hooked from the very beginning to a quite satisfactory ending!

It was August in London when he found her. Julia was away in Florence working on a project for her conservation studio, restoring paintings. He had not seen her for over a month. But there she was, right inside the door to the apartment. It appeared she had tried to get away from her attacker; blood was everywhere...

Of course, the police immediately thought of him as a suspect and set out to investigate from that perspective. James Blake had only justice on his mind and he immediately starting investigating his wife's murder on his own. But the clues that began to be found were disturbing, most importantly, an email from her that merely said, "help me".

First the police found evidence that suggested she was involved in an affair, but he refused to believe it..
Then James discovered that there was another reason she had taken her latest project. She planned to use new technology to search for lost art through a process by which layers painted under the present picture were examined to determine if something else had been painted on the canvas... He later learned that she and her boss had argued over what she was doing.

But the family who owned the large collection she was inspecting were well-known criminals, involved in all sorts of deadly activities, including illegal waste disposal...

And, worst of all, his brother, as a journalist, was following this story and had actually suggested the contact with the family to his wife!

Following the trail his wife had taken led him into more discovery, but soon he realized that there was somebody that wanted him to stop--and killing him to stop him was just as easy as any other method...

Because a mad man headed this criminal family...

...Raised with the potential to be special; as special as he
himself had become. Matteo had been prepared for a great
destiny just as his own father had prepared him.
And here it was - Leda and the Swan. It spoke to him, told
him how special he was.
If he looked long enough the figures would come to life.
The god was half man, half bird - that of course was the
appearance that he'd chosen...Could a man become a god?
As he sat in the chair, smoking the cigar, looking at the
painting, he was a god...
Twists in the story began to great surprise, as well as unexpected tension in families as the puzzle is solved... During my reading, I found myself searching for the lost art and found a copy (top) and then realized that the story had inspired many other artists, including Cezanne (immediately above). So, for me, I not only thoroughly enjoyed a great novel, but learned more about lost art and the technologies now available to possibly find it...and also got to explore great classical art (and some modern ones) as a response to reading the book.

I found the mixture presented in Take No More an enthralling story that was compelling and dramatic in telling and a thrilling ride while solving the case. I loved the surprise ending, the inclusion of a more modern evil, the illegal dumping of waste, along with the search for lost classic art...and the romantic tale of James Blake, who loved his wife very much... Highly recommended!


1 comment:

  1. Sounds quite an intriguing mix. Thanks for the introduction.