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Aaron Elkins

A Deceptive Clarity

An American museum curator in Berlin must find a fake painting—and a real killer—in this mystery from the Edgar Award–winning author of Switcheroo.
Chris Norgren, museum curator and Renaissance art expert, heads to Berlin to assist in mounting a sensational exhibit: The Plundered Past—twenty priceless Old Masters looted by the Nazis, thought for decades to be lost forever, and only recently rediscovered.
But things quickly get out of hand when Chris’s patrician, fastidious boss, after sensing a forgery in the lot, turns up dead the very next day—on the steps of a dismal Frankfurt brothel, of all places. Now, Chris faces a daunting task: finding a counterfeit artwork among the masterpieces—and an all-too-real killer whose sights are now set on him.
A Deceptive Clarity is the first in the Chris Norgren Mysteries by the multiple award–winning creator of the Gideon Oliver “Skeleton Detective” novels—a celebrated master who “thoroughly understands the art of the murder mystery” (The Philadelphia Inquirer).
289 printed pages
Original publication
Publication year
Have you already read it? How did you like it?


  • Николай Зубовshared an impression2 years ago
    👍Worth reading
    🌴Beach Bag Book

    Mostly good example of an art mystery
    Too much army to my taste, but still. Great pace, good dialogues.


  • Николай Зубовhas quoted2 years ago
    Every self-respecting person with intellectual pretensions has a favorite small hotel in Bloomsbury, especially self-respecting intellectuals who are traveling on a budget.
  • Николай Зубовhas quoted2 years ago
    Health or ethical grounds?” I asked.

    “Both. Why eat all that cholesterol, and why slaughter cows or pigs or sheep when there are a lot of other ways to get protein?” He gave me the kind of look civilized beings reserve for carnivores, then said abruptly, “Hey, how about some fried chicken? There’s a Wienerwald a couple of blocks from here.”

    I laughed. “Sure, but what have you got against chickens?”

    He looked at me as if he couldn’t believe I’d ask so self-evident a question. “They’re ugly.”
  • Николай Зубовhas quoted2 years ago
    People understandably assume that anything erected during the Renaissance was a work of art, but of course that isn’t so, any more than it is so that something built in the twentieth century is necessarily ugly, although there you’d have a better case.
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