Friday, January 7, 2011


For me, Arsenic and Old Paint was another one of those books where the historical details and facts about art were more interesting than the plot itself.

Not that the book is a bad mystery.  A wealthy member of an exclusive men's club is killed in the most unusual way I've ever come across.  Former art forger Annie Kincaid and her assistant find the body.

The murderer (or someone else) posed the body to mimic a famous painting.

Someone attacks Annie's well-loved grandfather, also an art forger.  And the story goes from there.

This story reminds me that immigration abuse and the abuse of women are nothing new.  Along the way, Annie and her friends delve into the exploitation of  Chinese immigrants in San Francisco in the late 1800s. 

Not only were Chinese women used as sex slaves, but the government broke up Chinese families by refusing those who were already here the right to bring their spouses or children over.  There is nothing new under the sun.

For me, this book had an unbelievable but still interesting plot.  As with many mysteries, I had to struggle to keep the characters straight.  That may happen because sometimes my reading is fragmented.  I have so many other "important" things to do.

But this was a good, often humorous, story which I  recommend.  If I were grading the book, I'd give it a B.  I might well pick up another Annie Kincaid "art lover's mystery."

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