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The Cezanne Chase: An Inspector Jack Oxby Novel    by Thomas Swan order for
Cezanne Chase
by Thomas Swan
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2012 (1997)
Hardcover, Softcover, Paperback, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Now available in paperback, this art crime caper features Jack LaConte Oxby. The Detective Chief Inspector of the Arts and Antiquities Squad, Oxby is assigned a rather curious case. Someone seems bent on destroying as many of Cezanne's self-portraits as he can possibly access. Since the artist painted 26 self-portraits, this may be a drawn out and costly proposition unless he can be stopped immediately.

With museums in both Europe and American targeted by the villain, whom the detective dubs Vulcan ('every painting was sprayed with a chemical and ... looks as if it were pulled from a fire'), Oxby has to cover a lot of ground if he is to stop the carnage.

At the core of the thriller is a shadowy Scandinavian pharmacist with some rather curious chemical skills, his attractive accomplice, and some unscrupulous art collectors who have no qualms about controlling the market by destroying important paintings.

What begins as simply headline making vandalism turns to murder as well, as one work of art after another is destroyed even though security is beefed up. Stopping Vulcan and revealing who is behind the carnage is a task that will challenge Oxby and his New Scotland Yard colleagues, but the quirky cop eventually devises a clever but risky scheme that will extinguish Vulcan and stop the artistic carnage.

The Cezanne Chase and Thomas Swan's two other art thrillers (The Final Faberge and The Da Vinci Deception) are not only fun reads but the author also brings enough credible art information into play that these novels will please art buffs who may not normally care for this type of fiction. It is nice to find these three novels again available in a less expensive format.

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