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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
I’m not really sure what prompted me to pick up The Arnolfini Art Mysteries by Rich DiSilvio, especially since I’m not that into art and know just about nothing about the world’s masterpiece artists. Perhaps it was the glowing reviews DiSilvio has received for his other collections of art mysteries that intrigued me. What was it about this author’s writing that has garnered him so much praise and recognition? Well, it didn’t take me long to find out. As unfamiliar as I am with the world of art, DiSilvio hooked me quickly with his superb writing skills, his sense of humor, his easy dialogue and his amazing descriptions of not just the art but the art museums and his own obvious enjoyment of his protagonist, Armand Arnolfini. Armand is former FBI, now a private detective and an art connoisseur. So it’s only sensible that when valuable pieces of art suddenly go missing people call on Arnolfini.
In this collection of 6 fascinating short stories, enhanced with photos, and with intriguing titles like “The Yoko, Oh No! Mystery”… and yes, it actually involves Yoko Ono and John Lennon…readers travel with Arnolfini to parts of Europe and the US, locating not just surprising culprits, but surprising reasons for why they have stolen or forged artwork. By the time you read all 6 stories, not only will you learn a great deal about art and its creators, but you will find yourself, as I was, incredibly moved by some of these “culprits.” Why? Because DiSilvio writes not just to entertain, but to recognize the many gifted people amongst us who go through life unrecognized for their talent in many walks of life, but especially in the various arts. The first story, “The Phantom Forger,” illustrates this best, but the theme reappears in other stories. Then there’s the celebrity factor i.e. it’s so much easier to be recognized for your talent if you are the partner of someone famous. DiSilvio also gives readers quite an insight into the theft of great works of art during the Nazi regime. A final word on The Arnolfini Art Mysteries? Don’t miss a chance to learn a lot about what you might not know or haven’t yet considered while being marvelously entertained by a brilliant writer!