Stars: 4 out of 5
Laurel Beacham Recovers a Painting, But at What Cost?
With the way that Ritter Ames’s Bodies of Art Mysteries build on each other, I made a point of working Fatal Forgeries into my reading schedule as quickly as I could. I wanted to return to Laurel’s world while various plot threads were fresh in my mind.
If you haven’t read this series, I do NOT recommend you start with this book. You’ll be lost. Author Ritter Ames does the best she can to fill you in on what has happened before, but this is part four of a five part story. Yes, the book does have a beginning, middle, and end all its own, but it is also part of a larger story, and to fully understand character relationships, you need to read the books in order. Not only that, but there are major spoilers in this book for events and twists revealed in earlier books. You’ll enjoy them more if you read them in order.
For a little background, Laurel Beacham works for the London office of the Beacham Foundation, an organization her family founded to restore and return artwork. However, she has gotten wind of a giant art heist that is being planned. As she works to stop it and the forgeries that are part of it, she has teamed up with Jack Hawkes, a mysterious man she is also falling for.
As this book opens, Laurel has taken on one of her side projects, stealing a stolen piece of artwork so it can be returned to the rightful owner. However, when she returns to London, she discovers that two forgeries of this particular painting had been confiscated in England recently. Did she just stop a new lead they could have used to trace forgers back to the art heist itself?
I always have trouble writing teasers for this series because the plots quickly spin out in surprising ways, and I don’t want to spoil anything for you. However, if you enjoy heist stories, this is a book you will enjoy. With all the characters in place, there are more action and twists as Laurel and Jack work toward figuring out what is really going on so they can stop it. I didn’t feel like the plot of this book was quite as fast paced as the earlier books in the series, but that’s a minor complaint overall. Along the way, we get some answers to bigger mysteries while still leaving plenty to be resolved in the final book in the series.
Meanwhile, the characters continue to grow and evolve. They have always had many layers, and I enjoy getting to know them better in each book. I will admit to growing tired of Laurel’s basic conflict with Jack. There seems to be some softening on both sides with that, so hopefully we are moving past it at this point.
And we get to travel as well. More of this book takes place in London than in some of the others, but we do still head over to the continent at some point. In a year where we can’t travel, it is a joy to journey via this book, and every location comes to vivid life for us.
If you’ve been reading this series, you’ll definitely enjoy your time reading Fatal Forgeries. If you are new to the Bodies of Art mysteries, I will once again warn you to start at the beginning. But once you’ve done that, you’ll be reading this book before you know it.Be sure to check out the rest of the Bodies of Art Mysteries.