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Sleuthing your way through the art world – Reba White Williams’ mystery novel Restrike gets it right

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April 21, 2013   ·   1 Comments

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—Michael reviews the debut mystery novel of  New York art world insider, Reba White Williams, and asks an interesting question.–the artblog editors——————————-What about a series of art world mystery novels? Restrike features amateur detectives Coleman Greene, editor of an art magazine, and her cousin Dinah Greene, director of a print gallery. The consigner of a Winslow Homer is brutally murdered. A reporter for Coleman’s magazine investigates; he too is murdered. Newly-found Durer prints are at auction. The Greenes discover they are mere restrikes. I have a restrike of a Rouault woodcut. An art dealer in Chicago purchased the original block, then printed and sold new copies — always specifying that they were unauthorized restrikes. Or so she said. In this novel the restrikes are passed off as extremely-valuable originals.

restrike-front-coverbetterWould Libby and Roberta solve such crimes? Imagine. Crime novels have a peculiar ability to make me turn their pages. This one did. Perhaps it will inaugurate a successful new series. If Restrike has a defect, it is a lack of specificity — why for instance do people forever meet in “Starbucks?” Perhaps the novelist does not really know New York. But it is a first novel. More and better work may be in the offing. Meanwhile, report any misconduct in the Philadelphia art world to Libby and Roberta.

Restrike by Reba White Williams; fiction; Delos Press; $12.00; 393 pages; ISBN 978-1-39052-00-1
See Roberta’s Goodreads review here.

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One Response to “Sleuthing your way through the art world – Reba White Williams’ mystery novel Restrike gets it right”

  1. Michael Andre says:

    Good mysteries are great at milieu. Lisa Scottoline makes great comic use of the neighborhoods and absurdities of Philadelphia. I was recently in New Orleans and a James Lee Burke mystery teaches Cajun culture. If the Williams’ novel is to become a successful series, it will have to do that for the New York art world. Having her characters drink coffee in Starbucks is a missed opportunity. Genre novels do not flourish in a generic geography.

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