|Cloggie: booklog 2003: The Last Judgement|
The Last Judgement
published in 1993
You may know Iain Pears from the historical detective novel An Instance of the Fingerpost which has been compared to Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose. He has also written several other detective novels, of which this is one. Though it's not made explicit, I think this is part of a series. There are some hints in the novel that point at a known backstory and the other Iain Pears books listed in the front have titles that suggest they are related to this one. Nevertheless, you can easily read this as a standalone.
The main characters are Jonathan Argyll, an English art historian and not very succesful novice art dealer and his Italian girlfriend Flavia di Stefano, who works for the Polizia's Art Theft Squad. Jonathan is in Paris on business and he offers to help a collegue, by delivering a not very good eighteenth century painting to a client in Rome. The morning after he has delivered the painting, the client is shot. Three guesses who is called in as expert help by the murder investigators? That's right, Flavia. Who quickly realises Jonathan is involved in the case. Odd thing is, even beofre he had left Paris, somebody had also tried to steal the painting... More is going on than is apparant at first, as usual in a detective novel, and it all turns out to revolve around a dark secret dating back to the last days of German rule in Paris, during WW II.
This is not great art, but damn enjoyable. I like it that Jonathan and Flavia are equally responsible for solving the mystery and I quite liked the dry sardonic tone of the book. A book to read in the bath, which I did.
Webpage created 09-03-2003, last updated 12-03-2003