Annabel’s older brother, Edwin, was a risk-taker – disappearing for days or weeks at a time. He usually turns up slack-jawed from the opium den or burdened with gambling debts. But when Edwin is murdered in his apartment, Annabel must piece together events and clues to discover who killed him and why.
Do you know that sick feeling that something is terribly wrong? And later finding out you were right?
A painting student at the Slade in London, Annabel Rowe is a keen observer of life and of people. When her paintbrush drops suddenly, she senses something is amiss. However, rushing to Edwin’s apartment after class, she discovers Scotland Yard on the scene. Her brother died from a vicious attack, his flat rifled through.
Though Edwin served time for art forgery, he seemed to have reformed. Or had he? Among his missing items is an important French painting. Annabel wants to believe her brother had changed, but it wouldn’t be the first time he fell in with the wrong sort.
CRACKING THE CASE
Inspector Matthew Hallam of Scotland Yard is on the scene, recruiting Annabel to search for clues. Her art education comes in handy when they realize a painting Edwin was restoring for an upcoming auction is missing. The only problem is, this painting was thought lost in a warehouse fire several years ago. Was Edwin back to his old tricks of forgery?
Together, Annabel and Matthew connect the dots of Edwin’s past to figure out who had a vendetta to settle. Along the way, they discover dirty secrets and find unexpected friendships. But will they find the murderer?
I am really into this book. Karen Odden deftly stitches together stories of murder, art theft, and intrigue. A Trace of Deceit is a fast-based historical-mystery placed in Victorian London. Above all, A Trace of Deceit reads like a movie filled with artist studios, elite family estates, and oil-lamp lit streets. Fans of mysteries with a hint of romantic tension, this is the book for you.
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Karen Odden’s interest in the Victorian era goes back to her New York University doctoral dissertation, which explored how the medical, parliamentary, and literary representations of nineteenth-century railway disasters helped to create a discourse out of which Freud and other psychologists fashioned their ideas of “trauma.”
She loves writing mysteries partly because the narrative always drives backwards as well as forward. That is, if there is a dead body on page 3, the rest of the book is really the story of someone figuring out how it got there in the first place. In keeping with her interest in psychology, she is fascinated by how childhood events shape characters’ beliefs and assumptions, which later experiences must often illuminate and correct. She loves family secrets and marginal voices, 1870s London including the smelly Thames and the costermongers, medical puzzles and odd facts about poison, anything Scotland Yard, the true weird stories that surround musicians and visual artists, and good old-fashioned romantic plots.
Karen currently resides in Scottsdale, Arizona with her husband, her two children, and her ridiculously cute beagle, Rosy.