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Friday, October 10, 2008

O' Artful Death

Taylor, Sarah Stewart. O' Artful Death. This is a debut novel introducing art historian Sweeney St. George, whose specialty includes funeral art and all of the symbolism that accompanies various time periods in history.

Sweeney is a college professor who finds photographs of an unusual and beautiful gravestone on her desk (left by her best friend Tony to entice her to spend Christmas vacation with him at his aunt and uncle's home). The monument is a sculpture of a beautiful young girl who died in the late 1800's, but it does not fit the norm for the time and place, and Sweeney recognizes Pre-Raphealite influences.

Unable to resist investigating, Sweeney does join Tony, and they go to Byzantium (New England) for the holidays. The mystery deepens as Sweeney discovers the rumor that the girl was murdered, the sculptor unidentified, a descendant is murdered, and strange burglaries are occurring in the small town of Byzantium.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and liked Sweeney. Will be looking for more in the series--there are at least 3 more.

Fiction. Mystery. 2003. 277 pages.


  1. I will look for this at my bookstore. I have been trying to find books in the art mystery sub-genre for a few months now.

  2. Oh I loved this mystery - I read it when it came out and just so enjoyed all the tidbits regarding funereal art. Just fascinating. I read two more but then just didn't keep up with it... Sweeney got a bit on my nerves on the last book I read. Maybe that was just me. I hope you'll continue with the series and you can tell me if I need to go back to it :)

  3. Just from your description of this book, I find myself interested. I am glad to hear it is as good as it sounds!

  4. Violette - I like art-related mysteries, too! I'm looking forward to reading more by this author.

    iliana - Well, I'm certainly going to look for the next couple of books, but it is disappointing when an author appeals less as a series goes along. Just the opposite with Reginald Hill...his get better and better.

    LF - It made a good RIP read and was fast and fun.

  5. I really enjoyed this one as well and have been meaning to pick up the next in the series for some time now!

  6. Danielle - I for to look for the next one when I went to the library, but fully intend to continue the series.