Hi all, and so the end of March has arrived! And with it so has autumn to Auckland. As I drive to work I can see the leaves on the trees turning into yellows and oranges; almost like a piece of artwork! Which is why this last post is dedicated to mysteries surrounding thefts of famous art works. So if you think you know art, (I don’t know that much by the way!) have a read of these stories here!!
Title: Chasing Vermeer
Author: Blue Balliett
Illustrated by: Brett Helquist
Publication details: Scholastic Press; NY; 2004
What this book is about: When a book of baffling incidents brings Petra Andalee and Calder Pillay together, strange things start to happen and an invaluable Vermeer painting disappears. Before they know it, the two find themselves at the center of an international art scandal, where no-one is spared from suspicion. As Petra and Calder are drawn clue by clue into a mysterious labyrinth, they must draw on their powers of intuition, their problem-solving skills and their knowledge of Vermeer. Can they decipher a crime that has left even the FBI baffled?? Blue Balliett’s first novel is a puzzle, wrapped in a mystery, disguised as an adventure and delivered as a work of art!!
My review: This book was gripping to say the least. It took me awhile to get into but once I did, boy was I hooked!! That line in the summary: ‘Blue Balliett’s first novel is a puzzle, wrapped in a mystery, disguised as an adventure and delivered as a work of art!!’ is true to every aspect! As each clue unravelled, the next step of the mystery was uncovered. Fast paced and well written, Chasing Vermeer is a classic that will please the code-cracking and mystery crazy tweens out there!! The other books in the series are also equally fascinating and I still haven’t got round to reading them all!!
My rating: 4⭐
Additional notes: This title has won the Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Fiction in 2005, the Agatha Award for Best Children and Young Adult in 2004, the Book Sense Book of the Year Award for Children’s Literature in 2005 and nominated for the Rebecca Caudill Young Reader’s Book Award in 2007.
Title: The Van Gogh Deception
Author: Deron Hicks
Publication details: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; NY, 2017
What this book is about: A young boy has forgotten almost everything about himself. His name, where he’s from and most importantly, why a group of covert people are after him. Perhaps it has to do with where he was found – sitting in the National Gallery before a Degas sculpture. Perhaps it is for what he knows – oddly detailed facts about artists such as Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Leonardo da Vinci. As the risks continue to rise, the boy must piece together the disjointed clues of his origins to stop one of the greatest art frauds ever attempted in this heart-stopping, high-stakes museum mystery.
My review: Wow!! What a heart-stopping read this was!! This read has everything for mystery and adventure lovers: non-stop action, solving clues and a case of amnesia to add to the mystery!! I loved the characters of Camille who is a force to be reckoned with and young ‘Art’ who seems to be a brilliant young man. The whole book reads more like a James Bond or Jason Bourne movie instead with street chases and bad guys around every corner, but this had loads more humour!! I enjoyed this new read from Deron Hicks and loved the story from start to finish!! The perfect read to start enjoying the world of art history!
My rating: 5 ⭐
Author: Kate Messner
Publication details: Scholastic; NY, 2014
What this book is about: Henry, Anna and Jose head from Boston to Paris for their most dangerous mission yet: to solve the mystery of an international art heist! Shortly after they arrive, they learn that a member of the Silver Jaguar Society is working as a double agent, passing information to a criminal gang. When the senior members of the society go missing, it’s up to Henry, Anna, Jose, and their new comrade, Hem, to mount a rescue while staying hot on the trail of a missing masterpiece. Running around – and below – a foreign city filled with doppelgangers, decoys, and deceit, the three sleuths discover they’re the only hope for the society’s survival!
My review: An awesome read!! This was a really cool story about secret societies, both good and evil, international art heists and solving mysteries using only your wits!! This is the third in a series featuring the junior members of the Silver Jaguar Society: Henry, Anna, and Jose. The thing I liked the most about this read was the descriptions of the landmarks of Paris, both aboveground and underground!! Another great read about one of the world’s important pieces of art works!!
My rating: 5⭐
A small note: After reading Kate Messner’s Manhunt, I found myself being taken back to Paris!! I was actually lucky to visit Paris a few years ago on a trip to visit a family friend and one of our stops was the world famous museum, the Louvre. Hope you enjoy a small snapshot of my visit there below!