The Cellini Masterpiece
by Raymond John
Cover Artist: Jack Kollodge
Review by Linda Marie Schumacher
North Star Press Perfect Pa ISBN/ITEM#: 0878392335
Date: 01 August 2006 List Price $14.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
This mystery has it all--a beautiful setting, nobility, beautiful local women, a large international shipping company, and Rick Olsen, a very sharp lead character who manages to decipher all the leads. Read The Cellini Masterpiece by Raymond John for a real adventure in mystery.
Picture a beautiful Mediterranean island combined with an excellent mystery. Rick Olsen, the lead character, travels to Malta to assist his brother Steph with research for his doctoral thesis. In the course of his research, Steph found a drawing for a renaissance sculpture by Benvenuto Cellini that has been missing since World War II. When Rick arrives in Malta, he discovers that Steph has been kidnapped, and that now the kidnappers are pursuing him. A local woman, Caterina Borg, meets Rick and assists him to evade his pursuers and in the search to find his brother. Rick is constantly under pursuit, but his skills as a Reserve Army Intelligence officer help him with some narrow escapes.
In the process of the search, Rick and Caterina meet several individuals around the island. Two are the Corancchias, the Duke and Duchess whose ancestors commissioned the sculpture centuries ago. The Cornacchias own a world-wide shipping company and are constructing a huge skyscraper as a new Headquarters, which is very out of place on the island. Caterina Borg runs a charity to support local refugees arriving in Malta from North Africa, and notices some inconsistencies among the patterns of the arriving and departing Arabs. The American Embassy is involved as they assist Rick as an American requiring assistance, and Rick also alerts them that he thinks a much larger scheme is going on behind the search for the drawing. The "island gossip" that Rick is able to learn through all of Caterina's contacts, helps Rick to find his brother and solve the case.
Rick Olsen's larger scheme unfolds gradually throughout the novel. All is through Rick's point of view, so the characters often appear to be helping him, while later they turn out to be on the other side. The finale is excellent, and the whole island becomes involved as well as several foreign countries.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Cellini Masterpiece by Raymond John. The action and characters are intricate, but it never becomes monotonous. The author also adds numerous historical facts (some people would call it trivia) about the Island of Malta and its history that adds to the romance of the beautiful Mediterranean location. The facts are presented through Rick and his conversations, so they are not antiseptic or boring.
Raymond John has a style that I also found interesting and fun to read. He is able to tell you that the characters have found a clue or put together some information, but is able to continue the action for a few pages before he reveals the clue. It is fun and adds to the suspense of the story.
I recommend The Cellini Masterpiece to mystery readers. The story has it all -- locals, foreigners, and big business. Raymond John is a new author and an excellent storyteller. Plus, it is a chance to travel to the island of Malta for a Mediterranean vacation.