The Raphael Affair

by Iain Pears | Mystery & Thrillers |
ISBN: 0425166139 Global Overview for this book
Registered by anavolena of Orlando, Florida USA on 1/4/2004
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12 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by anavolena from Orlando, Florida USA on Sunday, January 04, 2004
From the back:

English art scholar Jonathan Argyll was amazed to find himself arrested for vagrancy—while searching for a long-lost Raphael in a tiny Roman church. Although General Bottando of the Italian National Art Theft Squad has little confidence in Jonathan's theories, Bottando's lovely assistant, Flavia di Stefano, is intrigued by the idea of a lost classic, and by Jonathan himself. But in the midst of the painting's discovery and the resultant worldwide publicity, a new chain of events is set into action. First vandalism, then murder, surround the painting. And as new facts about its true nature emerge, Bottando sends Flavia and Jonathan to investigate—little knowing that the pair will be on the run for the truth...and for their very lives.


Subtitled "Art History Mystery Series, No 1," this book introduces us to Jonathan Argyll, an English art scholar who has specialized in the work of an obscure Italian painter. Only he has become convinced that one of this painter's works hides a forgotten work by Rafael. He is arrested for vagrancy in Rome while trying to prove his theory in order to make his name. The painting he is searching for has disappeared, and he enlists the aid of General Bottando and Flavia di Stefano of the Italian National Art Theft Squad to find it. The painting is uncovered, and sold for a record price. This sets off an unexpected series of events, beginning with vandalism, and then murder. As a prime suspect, Argyll works desperately to uncover the truth about the long lost Rafael.

In this book, Iain Pears makes a topic that could be boring, art history, into an exciting arena of intrigue. The main characters are interesting in their uniqueness - rather than falling into the trap of creating brilliant people who never make mistakes, Pears's characters are human. This book makes for excellent plane or vacation reading; it's a fast read. Pears's plotting and pacing and excellent; I stayed up late to finish the book because I was so wrapped up in it.

Journal Entry 2 by anavolena from Orlando, Florida USA on Tuesday, January 06, 2004
in the mail to cobaltcat, who had asked for it on Cliff1976's wish list site.

Journal Entry 3 by cobaltcat from Fresno, California USA on Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Just received today. This book looks brand new! I can't wait to read it; it's been on my wish list for ages!

Thanks anavolena!

Journal Entry 4 by cobaltcat from Fresno, California USA on Friday, January 23, 2004
Just wanted to note I've already started reading this book, in spite of all the other TBR books I already have. I've wished for it for too long!

And of course, having recently returned from a holiday in Rome at the beginning of December, just reading about the characters walking through the Piazza Navona, the Campo dei Fiori market, was both thrilling and excruciating. Thrilling because I can picture Rome in my memory and my heart, and excruciating because it sooooo makes me want to be there again. I've read a few passages to my boyfriend, and he made me stop for the same reasons. Sigh....

Journal Entry 5 by cobaltcat from Fresno, California USA on Saturday, January 24, 2004
Nice enjoyable book set in one of my favorite cities. I finished the book in two evenings as it was hard for me to put down. Nice little twist of irony at the end. I'm now wanting to read the rest of Pear's Art History Mysteries.

Journal Entry 6 by Fofum from Beverley, East Yorkshire United Kingdom on Saturday, February 07, 2004
Arrived earleir in the week. Thanks very much! I'll journal again once I've read it.

Journal Entry 7 by Fofum from Beverley, East Yorkshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, March 17, 2004
I did enjoy this one. It was not as I expected, having read 'The Instance of the Fingerpost' I think I expected something a bit 'heavier'. I did however, lose the plot towards the end and had to go back and take another look at the last couple of chapters as I'd missed some significant detail on the first read!Perhaps I was underestimating it?

The setting, Rome, was fantastic. In my mind's eye I was wandering those fantastic streets along with the characters and that made the book a joy! The characters are a bit stereotypical 'who dunnits' but none-the-less enjoyable to meet.

I have a second 'art history mystery' on the TBR pile and I'm looking forward to that. Thanks for passing it on, Cobaltcat, and for setting it free, Anovolena. It is now going to my Mum, who will love it I'm sure, and will then be available for trade.

Journal Entry 8 by Fofum from Beverley, East Yorkshire United Kingdom on Friday, August 27, 2004
As this came from Bookcrossing it really is time it moved on via Bookcrossing! There is a tiny ring set up, if you'd like to join it I'd happily add you in - just let me know.
When it gets to the end of the list, please feel free to release it. It would be a shame for it to get trapped forever on a bookshelf!

Mastulela - UK (Eng)
Auglaise - UK (Wales)

Enjoy!



Journal Entry 9 by Fofum at on Friday, August 27, 2004
Released on Friday, August 27, 2004 at Royal Mail in Beverley, England United Kingdom.

Away on it's travels!

Journal Entry 10 by Mastulela from Nuneaton, Warwickshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, September 01, 2004
Arrived today, - many thanks. As I have no rings on at the moment, I will be able to read it shortly.

Journal Entry 11 by Mastulela from Nuneaton, Warwickshire United Kingdom on Friday, September 03, 2004
I really enjoyed this. The characters are well-drawn with a lot of humour, and for much of the book every-one seems to be in a state of utter confusion. The really nice touch is that it is the professional policeman who actually solves the crime, while the amateurs provide the entertainment.

I am awaiting an address to send it on.

Journal Entry 12 by Mastulela from Nuneaton, Warwickshire United Kingdom on Monday, September 06, 2004
Released today at Royal Mail Nuneaton to Auglaise. Enjoy it!

Journal Entry 13 by Auglaise from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Tuesday, September 07, 2004
I've been looking forward to this since I read anavolena's blurb, and am quite excited that it's finally got here! I've got one ring book before it, but think that I'll probably be able to get to it very quickly as I have a train journey tomorrow to London...and that gives me about 4 hours for reading! Thanks for sharing!

Journal Entry 14 by Auglaise from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Monday, September 13, 2004
I was a bit disappointed in this, actually. I was expecting something much more along the line of The Da Vinci Code, which is reallyl the only other art-type mystery that I've read. I found the characters slightly shallow and unbelieveable, simply because they didn't seem to change or grow throughout the story. Thanks for sharing it though!

Journal Entry 15 by Fofum from Beverley, East Yorkshire United Kingdom on Saturday, September 18, 2004
YowlYY would like to join the list it the book is still available!

Journal Entry 16 by Auglaise at Bookring in Bookring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Monday, October 04, 2004

Released 14 yrs ago (10/4/2004 UTC) at Bookring in Bookring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

RELEASE NOTES:

Being posted to YowlYY today!

Journal Entry 17 by YowlYY on Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Yippieee!! My second Jonathan Argyll mystery story...for the moment, it will be queuing after 3 bookrings that I am currently dealing with...it will be journalled again and passed it on :-)

Journal Entry 18 by YowlYY on Friday, July 01, 2005
On loan to Fellraven and partner - hopefully I will have time to read on its return!

Journal Entry 19 by Fellraven from Redditch, Worcestershire United Kingdom on Tuesday, July 05, 2005
A kind loan from YowlYY. We'll try to read this within a month or so and return it asap. Many thanks.

Journal Entry 20 by Fellraven from Redditch, Worcestershire United Kingdom on Sunday, September 25, 2005
My partner (Bugzbunny) and I have both read and enjoyed this light and fun-to-read novel. Having previously read another of the Jonathan Argyll novels from later in the series, it was particularly pleasing to see how it all started.

It has been said on a number of occasions by different reviewers that Pears manages to teach the reader a heck of a lot about art, art history and the art market without bludgeoning him or her with his own learning and knowledge and this is indeed one of the factors which sets this particular series of mysteries apart from most others.

A most enjoyable read and to be returned to YowlYY as soon as practical, ie this coming weekend if I have her address.

Many thanks for the loan!

Journal Entry 21 by YowlYY on Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Safely back home now...and going straight at the bottom of my rings and rays Mount TBR...right now, this is No.8...we shall see if I can manage to get it moving as a ray after the Christmas holidays :)

Journal Entry 22 by YowlYY on Wednesday, April 19, 2006
I've started reading this yesterday on my return trip to Totnes (thanks for long train trips!) and already midway through. I am loving it! It's the first of the series featuring Jonathan Argyll and Flavia, and where they meet...so... looking forward to finishing it and then I shall launch a ray for it, as I did with the other copies of the series.
Watch out for an update of this journal entry soon.. :)

22 April 2006:
What a clever mystery, once again well delivered by Iain Pears. I didn't see who was the main culprit until the revelation in Siena, but I did expect a showdown related to the whereabouts of the painting. Here is when the partnership between Flavia and Jonathan starts, although the characters aren't as well developed as in the later books. Anyway, now I only need to read the two books that I am missing in the series. When is it exactly that they become a couple?!?
A quite enjoyable read, brief and sweet as usual.

Journal Entry 23 by YowlYY on Saturday, April 22, 2006
Continuing the original ray for this novel. Participants are:

- mrsdanvers, (UK)
- candy-is-dandy (UK)
- Starry-Starry (UK)
- vainilla79 (Spain)
- CaterinaAnna (UK, ships anywhere)<---- reading
- ReetPetite (UK, ships anywhere)
- sueb4 (UK, ships UK and Europe)
- WelshHelen (UK, ships Europe)
- RubyBlueLady (UK, ships Europe)
- niccijl, (UK, ships anywhere)
- AnglersRest, (UK, ships UK and Europe)
- angellica, (UK, ships anywhere)
- geishabird (Canada, ships anywhere)
- LyekkaMarengo (PA, USA - ships anywhere)
- caligula03 (PA, USA - ships USA)
- fsr44 (Rhode Island, USA - ships anywhere)
- Viola7, (Brisbane, Australia, ships Australia)
- ???

The book is being mailed on 24 April to mrsdanvers...happy reading :)

Journal Entry 24 by MrsDanvers from Aldeburgh, Suffolk United Kingdom on Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Received last week - sorry for the delay in posting but I've been away for a week.
Arrived with a lovely postcard and a bar of G&B - thanks YowlYY. I'm looking for a nice quick read after labouring through "The Historian" for my reading group.

Journal Entry 25 by MrsDanvers from Aldeburgh, Suffolk United Kingdom on Thursday, May 18, 2006
This is my third "Art History Mystery" and I think I enjoyed this the most. This is the start of the series and there seems to be a lot more art history than in the later two and more of Bottando and HIS relationship with Flavia. Two good twists in the plot - at the beginning and end of the book and I started to spot "whodunnit" just as he is revealed to us!
I like the humerous touches you get in this series. My favourite was "At first he didn't fit the caricature of the tall, gaunt, jesuitical type that Flavia evidently had in mind. He didn't look at all like the sort who spend a few years doing good in the suburbs before rushing off to upset the Pope by running guns in South America"

Thanks for starting this ray YowlYY.

Journal Entry 26 by MrsDanvers at By post in Ely, Cambridgeshire United Kingdom on Friday, May 19, 2006

Released 13 yrs ago (5/19/2006 UTC) at By post in Ely, Cambridgeshire United Kingdom

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

RELEASE NOTES:

Posted to the next participant.

Journal Entry 27 by MrsDanvers at By post in Ely, Cambridgeshire United Kingdom on Friday, May 19, 2006
RELEASE NOTES:

Posted to the next participant.

Journal Entry 28 by wingcandy-is-dandywing from Great Bardfield, Essex United Kingdom on Monday, May 22, 2006
Received from Mrs Danvers. Thanks for organising the continued bookring YowlYY.

This book has been around a bit and has a long way to go yet. I look forward to reading it.

Journal Entry 29 by wingcandy-is-dandywing from Great Bardfield, Essex United Kingdom on Friday, July 07, 2006
Despite most other comments being very positive I was not very impressed with this book. I found it rather pedestrian and the characters rather bland and 2-dimensional. I also got rather confused with the plot and the twists with different paintings, forgeries and over-painted masterpieces. Maybe its because I read it in little bits in bed over several nights.

Soon will continue on its journey.

RELEASE NOTES:

Continues on its way to starry-starry

Journal Entry 31 by Starry-Starry from Llandrindod Wells, Wales United Kingdom on Thursday, July 13, 2006
Arrived this morning, thanks Candy-is-Dandy. I've just finished a book, so I can start this straight away. Looks good!

Journal Entry 32 by Starry-Starry from Llandrindod Wells, Wales United Kingdom on Saturday, July 15, 2006
This book is a simple, fast-paced, cosy mystery with a bit of twist. I guessed the culprit once the vandalism had taken place and I'm afraid I got a little bored about three-quarters of the way through, but I'm glad I stuck it out to the end.

From other comments here it sounds as if it suffers from being the first in a mystery series - the combination of trying to introduce a host of new characters and make the plot interesting and exciting producing a book that is just good enough to make you want to read the rest of the series, but not good enough to stand alone. I might try one more to see if they get better.

Thanks for organising the ring Yowlyy - I'll pass this onto vainilla79 as soon as I have an address.

29th July 2006
This is finally going out in the post today, sorry for the delay, I can only usually get to the PO on Saturdays :o(

Journal Entry 33 by vainilla79 from Pinto, Madrid Spain on Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Hello! I received it today. I will read it as soon as possible.
Thank you!

Journal Entry 34 by vainilla79 from Pinto, Madrid Spain on Monday, August 28, 2006
I finished the book some days ago and I enjoyed it, especially because it is set in Rome and I am visiting Rome in hardly 2 weeks!! I am soooo happy!:)
I will contact CaterinaAnna and I will send the book as soon as possible!
Take care!

Journal Entry 35 by vainilla79 from Pinto, Madrid Spain on Monday, October 02, 2006
I just came back from the Post Office, so the book is already on its way to CaterinaAnna!:)
Sorry it took me so long to post it:(
Have a nice reading!

Journal Entry 36 by Caterinaanna from Coventry, West Midlands United Kingdom on Monday, October 09, 2006
Arrived at work last week on one of the days I was at home.
May not last the night without starting it ...

Journal Entry 37 by Caterinaanna from Coventry, West Midlands United Kingdom on Thursday, October 12, 2006
Quick work YowlYY, but your arrow is already out of date. Devoured along with dinner over the last two evenings.

Enjoyable book, exactly what I need to switch off at stress-head time, so gets a decent rating in spite of agreeing with what people said about minimal characterisation. I liked the final twist ...

PM-ing Reet-Petite to send it on.

Released 12 yrs ago (10/14/2006 UTC) at book ring in Mailed to fellow bookcrosser, Postal Release -- Controlled Releases

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

RELEASE NOTES:

In the hands of the Royal Mail, on its way to increase the stats of ReetPetite.

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