Why did I love this book?
When an uncle – presumed killed in the Blitz – turns up after serving nearly forty years in an Irish prison, he tells a story about having been one of the thieves of Picasso paintings stolen from a diamond merchant in Antwerp in 1939. At clever work in this tale are forgers, revolutionaries, and family members out to recover their treasure or their family honor. I have known for a long time that what I love most – more than mere murder mysteries – are what I call novels with murder. For me, the story has to be a beautifully realized bit of writing, and a murder is just one feature of it.
I have always loved Goddard’s style, which is both elegant and readable. And murder, more than a puzzle, becomes a natural part of the lives he depicts. Known for his plot twists, he sets me down in a maze of long-held secrets and I can hardly imagine a place I’d rather be! Several years ago, as Chair of the panel judging Best Paperback Original, I had the distinct pleasure of presenting Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award to Robert Goddard for this splendid book.