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Book Note: Stuart Woods, Quick and Dirty

I read this book about 12-Nov-2017. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 2017. This note was last modified Monday, 13-Nov-2017 12:15:34 PST.

This is book 43 of the "Stone Barrington" series.

This note contains spoilers for the book.


Latest in the long-running series.

This one has a pretty clever plot, involving art forgeries (which are carefully defined as copies; that doesn't match my general understanding of the term, but perhaps it is used that way technically by those dealing with the issues professionally?).

It also has a rather low body count, and little collateral damage. The reformed (?) art forger does die a natural death, and Stone hits somebody hard enough with a sap to eventually kill him (Stone was taped to a chair and under threat of immediate execution at the time; as always the violence by good guys is pretty justifiable).

There's a new girlfriend (only one new one this book), and Stone is feeling guilty about having her while he and Holly Barker are still together when possible; but Holly explicitly approves the relationship, and it looks like she may be going on into the presidency, which would keep her too busy. (Also that would make three presidents in a row that were friends of Stone's.)

The cover is annoying, in that while it featuers artists, no artist in the book is ever showing painting a nude (though a nude by one is a plot point, and the others probably have just because it's a thing you do), and no character in the book is shown or even talked about as having modeled for one. (Nothing wrong by my standards in painting or modeling for nudes! But possibly something wrong with putting such a scene on a book cover when nothing like it happens in the book.)

The main death, which starts the investigating, appears to actually be an accident. Many people look possibly guilty at various times due to their not leveling with the cops.

Wait, I don't think we ever found out what was going on with the three people in black clothes wandering around smashing windows in high-end cars (Rolls Royce, Bentley, and Mercedes at least) with sledge-hammers. They do find who bought three at once. Maybe I missed how that connected, or maybe it was left hanging. We'll see I guess.

There are also a couple of attempts at crimes, like insurance fraud, that never quite work out, and the perpetrators are treated rather better than they deserve by the other characters (it's not the fault of the other characters that one ends up dead).

It really is stupid to lie to the police (or anybody else) about something they can check with Google in one minute (don't tell them you're afraid of heights if you were captain of the climbing club for two years in college!). There's also a nice double interrogation where Stone gets to watch both sides at once, where you see the two gradually losing any coherent grasp on their common lie.

Stone earns about 12 million dollars in this book but has expenses of at least 2 million.

He does end up with a nice fake Van Gogh (new scene, not a copy), and a first-rate copy of Modigliani's "Reclining Nude" (with deliberate small differences from the original; but this copy was sold as the original at least once earlier).

There are also two copies of a fake Van Gogh, allegedly the last he painted and lost for years, passing through the hands of Herman Goering; but actually the same forger, essentially indistinguishable, one of which has been authenticated by three top experts as a real Van Gogh and is insured as such. The second copy is hidden in the back of the frame of another painting on the same wall, where the police failed to find it when searching the apartment after the theft of the Van Gogh. (The other copy was removed from the apartment, and then brought back, and taken out again illegitimately, and stolen twice and sold once, before eventually being recovered.)

The book contains an acknowledgment to Ken Perenyi, who it sounds like is a former art forger with skills somewhat like the one in the book. He alleges hundreds of his works hang in museums.


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David Dyer-Bennet