Edmund de Waal’s upcoming nonfiction title, The White Road: Journey Into an Obsession, is causing a flurry of excitement at my bookstore. Another blend of memoir and history with magnificent art at its center, it has customers placing pre-orders in anticipation of its November 10 on-sale date.
While you wait, might we suggest some other books about mystery, history, and art?
The Hare with the Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal
“Ostensibly about tracing the provenance of a large collection of netsuke, the book is a family, cultural and artistic history of Europe over the course of more than 100 years. From Paris, where Charles Ephrussi rubs elbows with the Impressionists, to Vienna where the family, along with thousands of other Jewish families, loses its home to the Nazis, the story is both intensely personal and broadly universal.” —Chuck Robinson, Village Books, Bellingham, WA
The Rescue Artist by Edward Dolnick
This true story of the theft of Munch’s The Scream from the National Gallery in Oslo got me hooked on the true art crime genre. Charley Hill, the art detective pursuing the trail, is a very memorable character. OK, so he’s not Rene Russo (and there isn’t a dance scene, that I can recall), but there’s still something about it all that feels so “The Thomas Crown Affair.”
Master Thieves by Stephen Kurkjian
Growing up near Boston, I was (and quite possibly still am) obsessed with the 1990 theft of paintings from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Hauntingly, because of the terms of the bequest behind the museum’s creation, empty frames have hung on the wall where priceless artworks once were displayed. This book is by an investigative reporter from the Boston Globe, so he knows the crime inside and out, he knows the city, he knows gangsters, he knows some very convincing possibilities for why the case remains unsolved and the art remains lost, 25 years later.
The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro
Given my Gardner Heist fascination, it was pretty likely that I would enjoy this novel offering a twisting, artistically and psychologically complex story with the missing paintings as key parts of its composition. Layers of secrets, passion, and art made it even more satisfying than I anticipated. It’s a compelling page-turner with great glimpses into the museums and galleries of the Boston art scene. I am so excited that Shapiro has another book for us all to put on pre-order at our local bookstores: The Muralist, coming November 3!