Thomas Lynch was once a brilliant young art historian. Now he is a disgraced, middle-aged art historian, overly fond of the bottle and of his fresh young students.
But everything will change now that hes on the trail of a lost masterpiece, a legendary Madonna by the Italian master Giovanni Bellini. Insinuating himself into the crumbling English manor house where the painting may be concealed, Lynch attempts to gull the eccentric and perversely beautiful women who live there though he himself seems to be the pawn in this elaborate game. A Victorian diary that draws Robert Browning into the paintings complicated provenance might provide the keyif only Lynch can manage to beat his hosts in the search.
In the end, it will be Lynchs own vulnerable heart that betrays the betrayer. Interlaced with complex clues and hidden jokes, The Bellini Madonna reels from the lush English countryside to the sternly lovely hill towns of the Veneto, from the fifteenth century to the twenty-first. It is a spectacularly original debut.
Elizabeth Lowry’s Thomas Joseph Lynch can hold his own among the best fictional characters. In the end we do like Lynch but abhor certain aspects of his character. He may not be trustworthy but he is a hell of a storyteller and Lowry's elegant-on-steroids prose (Oxford English Dictionary editor, indeed) does as much to elevate Lynch to best-fictional-character status as do his actions. Crackpot or not (you decide) we would have Thomas Joseph Lynch over for dinner but likely count the silver afterward. (Reviewed by Donna Chavez).
[A] wildly imaginative debut...the bold character work and beautiful prose are reason enough to keep reading.
An ambitious, accomplished piece of work, part rococo amusement, part darker philosophical judgment.
Booklist - Donna Seaman
This sophisticated, parodic puzzler tells an archly entertaining tale of misdirected ardor.
The Times (UK)
This sparkling first novel is a treat for lovers of elegant mystery and exquisite prose ... A delight.
The Spectator (UK)
This is a curious book: not exactly likeable, but certainly intriguing, and definitely accomplished. It is a debut novel, but doesn’t feel like one at all. It is smart, bold and surprising, with nothing of the crowd-pleaser about it; in fact it might irritate, or disgust, just as easily as it amuses.
The Guardian (UK)
A mystery story, a love story and a comedy of errors set in that most familiar of locations - a ruinous country house ... a compelling debut that entertains and unsettles in equal measure.
The Times Literary Supplement (UK)
Fusing the techniques of the thriller writer with those of historical fiction, Lowry . . . invokes an authentically Bellinian sense of distantly exact perspectives to create a first novel of genuine subtlety and distinction.
The Independent (UK)
A complex narrative twists and turns back in time to Baedeker’s Italy ... This is a first novel and Lowry has thrown a very considerable talent into it ... Splendidly quirky.
Lost and Stolen Treasures
According to British journalist and art critic Jonathan Jones, "The most amazing thing is not how many masterpieces go missing or get destroyed but that something so fragile as art survives for any length of time at all."
Yet the lead character of The Bellini Madonna, Thomas Joseph Lynch, is counting on the fact that the mysterious work of art he so fanatically desires still exists several hundred years after it was painted. A rather high hope, especially when the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation says art theft constitutes as much as an $8 billion per annum industry and the Bureau has even assembled a thirteen-member crack team to staff their highly specialized Art Theft Program. What's more, there are reported to be over 160,000 art pieces listed on the international Art Loss Register.
Stolen items do not have to be small and easily portable like the tiny, postcard-sized portrait of Lucien Freud by Francis Bacon that went missing from the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin in 1988. Occasionally a...
A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...