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A Paradise for Fools    by Nicholas Kilmer Amazon.com order for
Paradise for Fools
by Nicholas Kilmer
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

A Paradise for Fools by Nicholas Kilmer is the eighth in the Fred Taylor series, Madonna of the Apes being the seventh. Both books deal with art and art history, since Fred acquires art work for his employer Clayton Reed, who, although mentioned, is invisible in this story.

When Fred is treated to a view of extensive tattooing on a beautiful woman's body, he recognizes the weird insects, beasts and human figures as possibly the work of Hieronymous Bosch, who was born in 1453 and died in 1516. Where did the tattoo artist get his inspiration for his monumental work? Possibly from an old painting on wood and in a wooden frame that, mysteriously, no one seems to know about.

While searching for this painting (surely worth a fortune if Fred is right), he discovers that bodies lie in his path, while other art dealers and the like are after this piece and would pay a paltry sum for it.

As was the case with Kilmer's previous book, I was dazzled by the references to works of art as well as literary ones. The plot is convoluted at times a little hard to follow, but well worth the effort. The women Fred encounters all seem to be luscious, but his attention is captured by a librarian by the name of Molly Riley.

Fred seems to be a man who is content with his lot in life at the moment. His abode has nothing hanging on bare walls. For a man so entrenched in the art field, he is content to own none of it. Though an honest man he is not averse to a bit of subterfuge to achieve his goal. Unencumbered at the moment by lady friends, he has nonetheless found someone with whom he would like to share the crumbs of chips and to have their hands touch.

A Paradise for Fools is a delightful change from most of today's thrillers, about people functioning out of greed and what's in it for them.

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