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


—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.