A Trace of Deceit: A Novel

Written by Karen Odden
Review by Helen Piper

A Trace of Deceit continues Karen Odden’s Victorian mystery series. The book follows Annabel Rowe, one of the few female students at the prestigious Slade School of Art. When Annabel learns that her brother has been murdered, she is not completely shocked, given his past as an art forger. However, when she finds out that a valuable French painting he had been restoring is missing, she realizes that she is crucial to the investigation, both as a sister and painter. She decides to team up with Scotland Yard’s Inspector Hallam to find out what happened. Their quest for the truth takes them far beyond the sophisticated art world and deep into a world of corruption.

Odden has a background working for Christie’s auction house, and her knowledge of the art world is clearly displayed in this exciting novel. The extensive research and attention to details are impressive, even to an art history buff like me. This makes this thrilling, action-packed story an absolute delight to read. The character development is skillful, especially with Annabel and her relationship to her brother. There is also a dash of romance, although the mystery within the art world is the focus in this enthralling Victorian-era novel.