Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Six crime novels that revolve around art or the art world

Kate Belli writes historical mysteries and contemporary thrillers. Fascinated by history from an early age, she earned a PhD in American art and has variously worked as an antiques appraiser, a museum curator and a college professor. Belli has lived all over, from Florence, Italy, to Brooklyn, New York, to the Deep South, to a cottage next to Monet’s gardens in Northern France. Today she lives and works in Central Pennsylvania with her husband and son.

Belli's new novel is Treachery on Tenth Street.

At CrimeReads she tagged six "crime novels with a plot that revolves around art or the art world," including:
The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt

One could argue that the titular painting in this novel, The Goldfinch (1654) by Dutch artist Carel Fabritius,
serves as a MacGuffin as well, but here the connection between the painting and the characters’ motivations are deeper, particularly that of main character Theo Decker. Starting with an explosion at the Metropolitan Museum in New York that leads to Theo’s theft of the painting, the novel shifts locales along with him, detailing how Theo deals with his trauma and loss through the painting, as well as through substance abuse. For a time Theo occupies the shadowy world of antique and art forgery, and while this book is less overtly a suspense novel than Tartt’s 1993 The Secret History, it still blends elements of crime fiction with literature deftly, so much so it was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Goldfinch is among Marisha Pessl's six favorite stories of suspense and Sophie Ward's six best books.

--Marshal Zeringue