The DaVinci Deception: An Inspector Jack Oxby Novel by Thomas Swan

The Davinci DeceptionReviewed by Caryn St. Clair

For three long years Jonas Kalem has been preparing for one of the greatest art frauds ever. He is going to introduce to the public new pages from DaVinci’s sketch book showing earlier versions of the Mona Lisa. Kalem has assembled quite a colorful group to pull off the forgery-from the forger fresh out of prison to the art historian who has been lined up to do the authenticating. There are a couple of people roped in to the folly who are unaware of the actual project, though one has to wonder why they were not a bit more questioning along the way. The plan looks like it is going to come off without a hitch until an unwitting police officer makes an off handed comment to just the right person.

The chapters are short and the book is filled with action packed scenes jetting back and forth across the Atlantic so one would expect the book to be a quick read. However, the author has chosen to give readers quite a lot of information ranging from art forgery techniques to DaVinci’s ink to the art collection of the Royal Family. While some of this is interesting and does give background to the story, the shear quantity of it really slows the pace down (if the reader chooses to read it all) and comes off as a bit of an information “dump” by the author.

The biggest issue I have with the book is that The DaVinci Deception is the book in which Swan introduces readers to Jack Oxby, Scotland Yard’s Art and Antiques Squad. I mention this because although Oxby is the protagonist that is to go on to appear in two more books, there is really very little of Oxby in this book. It seems like the author would have tried to develop the Oxby character more to hook readers on him as a protagonist. It’s not until the second book The Cezanne Chase, that Oxby is firmly in control of the series.

If you like reading mysteries set in the art world and are especially interested in art forgeries or Davinci, then The DaVinci Deception is a good book for you.

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