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Review: Brush With Death by Hailey Lind

 Review: Brush With Death by Hailey Lind

As you might have realised, Ive developed a certain love of cosy mysteries. Ive been devouring a wide range of them, opting for those with a wide range of different protagonists and themes, and enjoying the way that they offer an insight into a variety of strange an esoteric habits and hobbies.

Brush with Death is a welcome addition to my quickly growing collection. Its opening pages immediately show that the author has significant familiarity and confidence with both art and history, which is no surprise given that Hailey Lind is actually the nom de plume of two sisters, one of whom is an artist, and one of whom is an historian. Well, thats one mystery solved.

Brush with Death is the third in a series about hilarious protagonist Annie Kincaid, an erstwhile forger turned art restorer who seems to specialise in getting herself into a variety of difficult situations, apparently often involving murder, stolen art, and of course, men.

The novel has a slightly old-fashioned, shabby-chic-meets-Scooby-Do feel to it, which I really enjoyed. Its full of rubber mask-wearing hooligans, complex love'dodecahedra'(or other similarly complicated shapes), and a variety of raucous characters, all of whom are larger than life. Annie is a smart-mouthed heroine, but not in the obnoxious way that seems to dominate many other cosy or chicklit novels. Shes sassy but fallible, and shes fully aware of her foiblesnot that this awareness helps mitigate them in any way.

Poor Annie is doing her best to make ends meet on the legitimate side of the art world, but trouble seems to follow her. During a late-night fresco restoration session at a San Francisco cemetery, she meets graduate student Cindy Tanaka, but the introductions are set a little awry as the two are knocked down by a masked thief. To complicated matters further, Cindy'mentions to Annie that she feels something might be amiss with the cemeterys copy of Raphaels famous La Fornarinashe has her suspicions that what is thought to be a copy might not be after all.

A curious Annie begins asking around to see whether Cindys suspicions might be correct, but as usual, things begin to get complicated. Particularly Cindy winds up dead and Annie finds herself stuck in the middle of some complicated relationships and some wealthy and influential individuals.

Brush With Death is a great read. Its fun and witty, and feels well-rounded and well-researched. Each of the characters is nicely drawn, and Annie in particular is realistic and easy to empathise with. While the mystery is a little thin in places, the book offers a nice insight into the art world, and a great escape from the real one. I certainly whipped through this one in a single sitting!

 Review: Brush With Death by Hailey Lind

Purchase'Brush with Death

 Review: Brush With Death by Hailey Lind  Review: Brush With Death by Hailey Lind

Other books by Hailey Lind you might enjoy: Shooting Gallery; Feint of Art

 Review: Brush With Death by Hailey Lind

Forthcoming reviews: Company by Max Barry (mainstream)

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