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The Titian Committee Paperback – 2 Oct 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; (Reissue) edition (2 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007229186
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007229185
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 1.3 x 12.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 260,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Iain Pears was born in 1955. He is the author of seven detective novels, a book of art history and countless articles on artistic, financial and historical subjects, and three novels, An Instance of the Fingerpost, The Dream of Scipio and The Portrait.

Product Description

Review

Praise for ‘The Titian Committee’:

‘An elegant and amusing book, perfect for those who love a clever puzzle.’ Mail on Sunday

‘The real work of art here is the plot, a piece of structural engineering any artist would envy.’ New York Times

Praise for the Jonathan Argyll series:

'Iain Pears has a superior line in this kind of tale…a divertingly complex, often comic, story in which the art motif is ingeniously central to the solution.' Guardian

'Superior entertainment.' Allan Massie, Scotsman

'There is nothing so satisfactory as the deconstruction of a puzzle in the hands of such an erudite and sure-footed author.' The Times

'Pears is a delightful writer, with a light, ironic touch.' Frances Fyfield, Mail on Sunday

'Iain Pears writes delightfully witty, elegant, well-informed crime novels.' The Times

'You don't have to know much about art to enjoy Iain Pears's Italian mysteries. Like a good teacher, he shares his passion unobtrusively and flavours his lessons with wit.' Val McDermid

'Pears is a delightful writer, with a light, ironic touch.' Mail on Sunday

From the Back Cover

When Louis Masterton, a member of the famous Titian Committee, is found stabbed to death in a Venetian public garden, General Bottando of Rome’s Art Theft Squad sends Flavia di Stefanoto Venice to asist the local carabinieri. But it seems they don’t want her help or expertise, and are convinced a Sicilian mugger is responsible for the killing.

Flavia has other ideas and calls upon the services of English art historian Jonathan Argyll, who is in Venice to buy a picture from the Marchesa di Mulino’s collection. When another member of the committee is found dead and the Marchesa’s collection is stolen, Flavia and Argyll follow a tortuous trail to unearth the truth behind both the killings and the theft. In the process, not only do they stumble across another murder, but come close to unravelling a mystery from Titian’s own life.

“A divertingly complex, often comic, story in which the art motif is ingeniously central to the solution”
GUARDIAN

“Mr Pears does some lovely brushwork on the minor characters who contribute to the subtle tones of this elegant mystery … but the real work of art here is the plot, a piece of structural engineering any artist would envy”
NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
The initial discovery was made by the gardener of the Giardinetti Reali, an old and stooped figure whose labours generally pass unnoticed by the millions of tourists who come to Venice every year, even by those who eat their sandwiches amidst his creation as they get their breath back from overdosing on architectural splendour. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

2.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Andrew Dennis on 11 Jan 2002
Format: Paperback
I read this straight after reading The Last Judgement and have to say that this is not as good. Not that its bad - the descriptions of Venice are high evocative and the story links and flows well. However, the characters are insufficiently developed - you never get to really empathise with any of them. A little less plot and a bit more characterisation would be better.
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Format: Paperback
I read many novels set in my favourite city, Venice. This was a big disappointment. The sense of place was minimal and I really felt unable to engage with the characters. The relationship between the main male and female characters was bizarre. I finished the book not knowing if they were an 'item' or not.
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By AMC1222 on 14 Nov 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was not nearly as good as Iain Pears' 'The Instance of the Fingerpost.' Most of the characters were quite flat and the mystery didn't develop much until the obligatory twist at the end.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By bellepaese on 25 Oct 2010
Format: Paperback
Just get into bed and read and enjoy. I worried about the characters so it must be good.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 23 reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Gee I miss Venice (I read it for the scenery) 11 April 2003
By bensmomma - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I think I'd read anything set in Italy, and Iain Pears does a wonderful job conveying its charms in this series. This particular book is set in Venice, which is really brought to life (I got rather excited when the body of a victim was found in a canal that was down the street from a hotel where I once stayed.)
This is my first of Pear's 'art history mysteries,' however, and the characters and the plot have yet to grow on me. Flavia diStefano, an Italian detective, is energetically drawn, but Jonathan Argyll, the art expert who tags along with her, is an enigma. Perhaps he is more colorful in other stories in this series. The plot is pretty tortured and difficult to retain if you are not an art history export. There is rather a lot of detail conveyed third-hand (scenes in which two characters sit in a cafe talking about what a third character said to a fourth character).
Nevertheless, every time I want a 'hit' of Italy, I'm likely to go back to this series for a quick fix!
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Don't Drink the Water 10 Sep 2003
By sweetmolly - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Don't Drink the Water
An Ian Pears' view of ever-romantic Venice never lets readers forget they are in a watery wasteland. However appealing visually, the downside is very dirty water, water everywhere. You can't get "there" from "here" without crossing the canals, and God forbid you should ever, ever fall in!
The protagonists fall in the canals, suffer from seasickness, and root around in sub-basements never meant to be seen by the tourists.
The plot is secondary to the fun and the easy-to-digest art history that author Pears provides. Gorgeous, volatile Flavia and diffident Jonathan (think Hugh Grant) team up to investigate the endangered members of the prestigious Titian Committee, who are being picked off one-by-one. Their directive is to bring the investigation to a speedy, expedient closure that will make the various Italian bureaucracies look good. Solving the crime is secondary. As Flavia's marvelous superior General Bottando informs her when she triumphantly states she has found another body in France, "But you're not meant to be finding more," he said grumpily, "You're meant to be dealing with the more than adequate supply we have already."
It is hard to pigeonhole Pears' Art Mysteries as to type. The satire is good humored, but nevertheless has a bite. The protagonists are made far too uncomfortable and the action too graphic to be a "cozy," and the lack of dedication to task make it impossible to label the stories "hard boiled." If you adore things Italian and have more than a passing interest in art history, I highly recommend this series.
-sweetmolly-Amazon Reviewer
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
The Titian Committee More About Place than Plot 27 Mar 2002
By Juliana LHeureux - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Iain Pears lives up to his modern day Agatha Christie title with a particular twist on writing about beautiful places. In fact, great places are the focus of his Art History Mystieries series, like Paris, London, Rome, and lots more of Rome, Los Angeles and other five star places like that. As far as the murder mystery in each book's plot, like "The Titian Committee", the story is as much about Venice (place) and how this high brow Titian committee credentials master works than it is about the dead body discovered in the first chapter. Reading a Pears novel is
worth challenging a few college credits in art history, only tons more fun. Still, even with the "opposites attract" characters of the often morose Jonathon Argyle, who lives up to his very predictable last name, and his risk taking love Gloria Di Stafano, "The Titian Committee" isn't quite as memorable as the other books in this effervecent mystery series. Sometimes, the plot becomes just too cumbersome to make sense. Nevertheless, I wouldn't want to miss reading it, if only to keep up with the lively antics of the hero and heroine- especially, to find out if they ever plan on taking their relationship beyond the Panda bear dance they play out in their comic/drama experiences. Overall, "The Titian Committee" does not stand alone in The Art History Mysteries, but it's a good link with the others. "The Raphael Affair" is still the best in the series with "Death and Restoration" a close second. Of course, it will likely be a long time before another book will compare with the intellectual stimulation of "An Instance of the Fingerpost", a first rate Pears mystery, but not in the line up of the Art History Mysteries series.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Another Good Entry in the Series 17 April 2003
By Rick Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the second book in this series of art mysteries (Raphael Affair was first). The series need not be read in order as I found when I read this one out of order.
Pears' ironic humor is abundant and his main characters all so human. The cultural aspects always add to the plot and Pears' writing style also adds.
The plot of Titian Committee is good. The author presents the reader with members of a research committee who are all - at some time or other - suspects, prime suspects or murder victims.
Like some of Pears' other books, there is a moral decision/question that throws an extra twist. Are the good guys always good? Or is it good to be a good guy and not so good?
Somehow the reader gets the warm feeling throughout this book that Mr. Pears writes with a constant grin on his face. This is an enjoyable light read.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Fun, quick read 16 Sep 1999
By Tripp Ritter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Just as enjoyable as the first of the Art History Mysteries ( The Raphael Affair), this book has convinced me to read the rest of the series. The author has an excellent sense of place (in this case Venice), character and storyline. I thought the conclusion a tad muddled, but I really like the art history that forms the backbone of the tale. Those with strong medieval/Renaissance history will have a better chance than I did at guessing the ending.
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