Review Blog

May 21 2020

The portrait of Molly Dean by Katherine Kovacic

cover image

Alex Clayton Art Mystery, book 1. Bonnier, 2018. ISBN: 9781760409784.
(Age: Adult - Senior secondary) Recommended. An elegant murder mystery for art lovers, The portrait of Molly Dean swings back and forth from 1999 to 1930 when a young aspiring journalist Molly Dean was murdered. Art dealer Alex Clayton finds a portrait of Molly Dean and while trying to uncover its provenance before selling it, finds inconsistencies in the evidence surrounding her death. There appears to be a cover up; evidence disappears and although there is a likely suspect, he was never brought to trial. She enlists the aid of John Porter, an art conservator, and together they try to solve this cold case, stirring up some dangerous events even in the present.
The author keeps the suspense going by telling the story first in Alex's voice as she sifts through the evidence and in Molly's voice as she tries to write an article about the life of a dangerous, enigmatic rich man in the hope that it will be a breakthrough for her journalistic and author aspirations. The reader will learn much about the life of an art dealer and conservator and Australian art while life in 1930's will prove equally interesting.
In notes at the back, the author tells the reader that the events in the book are based on the real murder of Mary 'Molly' Winifred Dean and that many of her associates were real people while Alex is fictitious. This fictional re-enactment of what could have happened will be an enticing read for those who are interested in real crime as well as those who like a solid murder mystery.
The author has written more mysteries set in the art world which I hope to pursue.
Pat Pledger

BUY IT ON booktopia
Archived Blog Entries