Select one of the keywords
False Colors: An Inner Sanctum Mystery    by Richard Powell order for
False Colors
by Richard Powell
Order:  USA  Can
Dell, 1955 (1955)
Hardcover, Paperback
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Richard Powell - who also wrote The Philadelphian, The Soldier and hilarious novels like Pioneer, Go Home and Don Quixote, U.S.A. - was well known for his light, wisecracking mysteries starring self-deprecating heroes and lovely, young, and athletically impulsive heroines, in particular his engaging Arab & Andy series.

In False Colors, Powell introduces (in his own words from the jacket blurb) 'a young Philadelphian art dealer who gets mixed up in dirty work in the field of art collecting ... He's slow and cautious. In fact, the guy admits that, in the great race of life, he's just along for the walk ... I felt sorry about shoving him into so much trouble, even though I did give him a jet-propelled blond heroine as sort of workmen's compensation for his injuries.'

That sums up the story pretty well. You can't help but like its unassuming hero, Peter Meadows, or its breathtaking do-gooder of a heroine, socialite Nancy Vernon, whom Peter meets through his long-time acquaintance (definitely not friend) Sheldon Thorp III, whose name sums him up pretty well. Nancy persuades Peter to put on a show for young, ex-con artist/prizefighter Nick Accardi who needs the money to pay the rent - but she doesn't tell the suspicious artist.

The show goes on, Nancy turns green when femme fatale Kay Raymond gets a private viewing from Peter, there's a fight, a robbery, attempted murder, and then the real thing. A reluctant Pete finds evidence of art forgery and links it to a prestigious gallery. And every time he tries to withdraw from the investigation, Nancy drags him in to the deep end. False Colors is great fun, and like all Richard Powell's books, it stands the test of time well.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Mystery books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews