A Paradise for Fools
Poisoned Pen, Sep 6 2011, $24.95
At Cut-Rate-Cuts hair salon in Cambridge, Massachusetts, manager Kim Weatherall lifts her shirt to show stylist Claire her new but not finished tattoo on her back that she says came from an old painting. Art expert Fred Taylor looks at the elaborate garden display on Kim’s body and is stunned. The tattoo looks like something from the work of fifteenth century Dutch artist Hieronymus Bosch, as the unfinished tattoo reminds Fred of the masterpiece The Garden of Earthly Delights.
Fred’s patron collector Clayton Reed is out of the country, but he knows his client will want the Bosch if it is genuine. Thus Fred goes to the G Spot in Central Square to meet Arthur Pendragon the tattoo artist and determine whether a previously undiscovered painting by Bosch exists. Instead of a straight answer, Arthur and his colleagues (tattoo artist Kenzo Petersen; exotic dancer Tippy Artoonian; art dealer Lexington Orono and high school art teacher Zoltan "Z" Zagoriski) give him the run around. When Z dies in a hit-and-run, Fred understands the high cost of art, but remains ignorant whether a Bosch exists.
Fred is at his best in this exciting stay at home art mystery (see A Butterfly in Flame), but not just because of this super case for the elusive Bosch; he also shows his first signs of love as he likes Molly the librarian. Readers will appreciate Nicholas Kilmer’s New England caper who like the hero will wonder whether a Bosch masterpiece has been found.