Troubador Of Art And Eros

Released: 28/09/2021

ISBN: 9781800464377

Format: Paperback

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Of Art And Eros

Family... Inheritance... The afflictions of love


When a deceased artist, with an estate of almost incalculable worth, means heirs at war, who will heal the rifts? There will be advisors aplenty, but can they bring peace to the warring factions? The estate of renowned artist, Gustave Post, is in the hands of the Collarii Foundation, which administers it to protect his life’s work. The heirs are fractious and unreliable. When an important but unknown Post appears for sale, it is suspected that one is trying to sell it anonymously, in contravention of their obligations to the foundation. The foundation asks Corey Templeton, the expert in Post’s work, to undertake a clandestine investigation to identify the owner.

Templeton uses his assistant, Waverley Smith, to get close to more bloody-minded heirs. Shiningly attractive, she is both a boon and a liability. Templeton soon finds himself entangled in her unscrupulous methods. As the investigation proceeds and the secrets of the past are uncovered, damaging discoveries are made about the actions of Post nearly four decades before. A tale that affirms the myth of the demonic artist genius is any biographer’s dream, not least Post’s! Can the foundation keep control of Post’s reputation, and maintain his blue-chip status? And can Templeton keep his equilibrium as, on all sides, emotions run high?

'Lara Bliss Loves Rose Madder Genuine' is the first book in GJ Babb's Art World Trilogy. The second, 'Nude, Not Naked' will be published in 2020.

This is a clever, entertaining, wry comedy of manners set in the art world, which is well written, and with what seems an insider's knowledge of the dealings described. I found the story totally compelling, perceptive... and hilarious - of the milieu, the events, and the characters depicted. I totally fell for the Courtauld's 30-something professor sleuth, Corey Templeton, and his alumna sidekick (sidekick?! she IS the brainy one really) Waverley Smith, PhD. I am interested in art and it was great fun to see connections with lives of artists one knows about (Freud, Picasso...) and the work of actual galleries (the three Collarii brothers made me think of the Nahmads).

The storyline revolves around the shock of discovering that one big, important yet uncatalogued painting in the oeuvre of recently disappeared maestro, Gustave Post, has come up for auction without the knowledge of the art gallery dealers in charge of managing the artist's estate. Who is behind this sale - family or foe or both? Where has this major painting been all these (more than 40) years hidden? What were the circumstances of its creation? All is worked out, bit by interesting bit, in the course of the novel by Corey and Waverley. And yes, I have not yet mentioned Eros. Eros is ever present in a myriad ways... it did impinge in the work itself, it does in the investigation, and it is dealt with in a totally perfect manner. No spoilers.

This is the third novel of a trilogy about the art scene by G J Babb. I have tried to learn more about the author but, like Elena Ferrante, (s)he rejects biography. Nevertheless, this is what I found in two online bookshops by way of bio: "GJ Babb was educated at a school so rural it was often referred to as ‘half a mile from England'. The experience informed Babb’s belief that to be truly observant, the eye needs anonymity." and "GJ Babb was educated at a school so rural it was often referred to as 'half a mile from England'. The experience informed Babb's belief that to be truly observant, the eye needs anonymity." You see the style...

With many thanks to Matador via NetGalley for this excellent, satirical novel

Original review:

by NetGalley review

GJ Babb

When not resting or writing, GJ Babb is walking the coat of England. 'The most important rule is to walk every inch, so no missing the less attractive stretches. Once I set out I feel like walking on for ever, off into the blue yonder... It has helped me enormously to imagine the beautiful estuary of the Em and its changing cast of characters.'

Mysteries abound in 'Lara Bliss Loves Rose Madder Genuine'.

Is this Lara Bliss caught 'in cahoots' with Jack Palanga?
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