Trace of Deceit by Karen Odden

Book cover of a Trace of Deceit by Karen Odden

Book cover of a Trace of Deceit by Karen Odden

A review copy of this book was provided by Karen Odden

Historical mysteries are an often-overlooked sub-genre in today’s popular fiction. While the popularity of modern psychological, serial and true crime mystery books has been on the rise, it’s begun to feel like the same story is being told over and over. When the author (Karen Odden) reached out to me about A Trace of Deceit, I was thrilled – I’ve been feeling burnt out with mystery books lately and this felt like a breath of fresh air in an oversaturated genre. True to its name, A Trace of Deceit is a mystery full of deceit, beautiful art, and an immersive atmosphere.

A young painter digs beneath the veneer of Victorian London’s art world to learn the truth behind her brother’s murder…

Edwin is dead. That’s what Inspector Matthew Hallam of Scotland Yard tells Annabel Rowe when she discovers him searching her brother’s flat for clues. While the news is shocking, Annabel can’t say it’s wholly unexpected, given Edwin’s past as a dissolute risk-taker and art forger, although he swore he’d reformed. After years spent blaming his reckless behavior for their parents’ deaths, Annabel is now faced with the question of who murdered him—because Edwin’s death was both violent and deliberate. A valuable French painting he’d been restoring for an auction house is missing from his studio: find the painting, find the murderer. But the owner of the artwork claims it was destroyed in a warehouse fire years ago.

As a painter at the prestigious Slade School of Art and as Edwin’s closest relative, Annabel makes the case that she is crucial to Matthew’s investigation. But in their search for the painting, Matthew and Annabel trace a path of deceit and viciousness that reaches far beyond the elegant rooms of the auction house, into an underworld of politics, corruption, and secrets someone will kill to keep.

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