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The Flanders Panel

Another good mystery from the author of The Club Dumas. When I saw the chess pieces on the cover, I almost balked because I know very little about chess and have very little curiosity to know more. My sister told me that even if I didn’t like chess, I would like this book, and she was right

The plot concerns an art restorer and a painting she is working on that turns out to have a secret inscription beneath layers of paint. The inscription is the first clue to a mystery of a murder that took place 500 years ago and an unlikely assortment of art historians, antique collectors, scalawags, chess players and auctioneers come together in various ways to help muddle out the solution. Along the way, there are chess clues, based on the game of chess that is occuring within the painting. There are some chess-y bits, but nothing too central [as long as you can understand the descriptions, you don’t need to be able to read the notation], this is mainly a compelling novel about interpersonal relationships and the strange world of buying and selling art.