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Book Review | A Trace of Deceit by USA Today Bestseller @karen_odden #historicalmystery #bookish

Title: A Trace of Deceit

Author: Karen Odden

Genre: Historical Mystery

Book Blurb:

From the author of A Dangerous Duet comes the next book in her Victorian mystery series, this time following a daring female painter and the Scotland Yard detective who is investigating her brother’s suspicious death.

A young painter digs beneath the veneer of Victorian London’s art world to learn the truth behind her brother’s murder...

Edwin is dead. That’s what Inspector Matthew Hallam of Scotland Yard tells Annabel Rowe when she discovers him searching her brother’s flat for clues. While the news is shocking, Annabel can’t say it’s wholly unexpected, given Edwin’s past as a dissolute risk-taker and art forger, although he swore he’d reformed. After years spent blaming his reckless behavior for their parents’ deaths, Annabel is now faced with the question of who murdered him—because Edwin’s death was both violent and deliberate. A valuable French painting he’d been restoring for an auction house is missing from his studio: find the painting, find the murderer. But the owner of the artwork claims it was destroyed in a warehouse fire years ago.

As a painter at the prestigious Slade School of Art and as Edwin’s closest relative, Annabel makes the case that she is crucial to Matthew’s investigation. But in their search for the painting, Matthew and Annabel trace a path of deceit and viciousness that reaches far beyond the elegant rooms of the auction house, into an underworld of politics, corruption, and secrets someone will kill to keep.

My Review:

When painter Annabel Rowe discovers a Scotland Yard Inspector, Matthew Hallam, in her brother’s flat, she knows something is amiss but never thought she’d hear her brother’s been murdered. A valuable painting he’d been restoring is missing and Annabel knows it’s the key to finding her brother’s murderer. Teaming up with Matthew, they enter the underbelly of the art world. As they sift through lies, deception, and evasion, the investigation takes a surprising turn and puts Annabel in the crosshairs of a killer. Can she escape with her life or will she be the next victim?

I’m a huge historical mystery fan and A Trace of Deceit is a delight for the senses. Karen Odden plunges the reader into the past with historically accurate descriptive narration, colourful characters, an independent heroine, and a suspenseful mystery. The plot moves at a good pace with a few twists I didn’t see coming. The mystery itself stimulated my mind and I honestly didn’t figure it out until the very end. Well done. A Trace of Deceit is reminiscent of Anne Perry’s Victorian mysteries. Highly recommend!

My Rating: 5 stars

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Author Biography:

KAREN ODDEN received her Ph.D. in English literature from New York University and has taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She formerly served as an assistant editor for the academic journal Victorian Literature and Culture. Her debut novel, A Lady in the Smoke, was a USA Today bestseller. Her second Victorian mystery, A Dangerous Duet (November 2018, Harper Collins) won for Best Historical Fiction at the New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards. Her third book, A TRACE OF DECEIT was released on December 17, 2019 (Harper Collins).

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Reviewed by: Mrs. N

1 Comment

Barbara Bettis
Feb 18, 2020

Lovely review! I can't wait to read this new Victorian mystery! Best of luck, Karen.

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