A Clean Canvas by Elizabeth Mundy
A Clean Canvas
Crime always leaves a stain…
Lena Szarka, a Hungarian cleaner, dusts off her detective skills when a masterpiece is stolen from a gallery she cleans with her cousin Sarika. When Sarika goes missing too, accusations start to fly.
Convinced her cousin is innocent, Lena sweeps her way through the secrets of the London art scene. But with the evidence against Sarika mounting and the police on her trail, Lena needs to track down the missing painting if she is to clear her cousin.
Embroiling herself in the sketchy world of thwarted talents, unpaid debts and elegant fraudsters, Lena finds that there’s more to this gallery than meets the eye.
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As the assisting constable explains, when one is investigating a theft the procedures are slightly different than when looking for a murderer.
My favorite character is the cleaner, Lena, herself, although her exactly standards would not make close friendship possible for us in real life. She has a brilliant mind and struggles with understanding and correctly using English idioms. "Smells like fish" made me smile.
Lena also has a wonderful brain for business. I enjoyed how she revealed opportunities in the obstacles she tripped over while trying to solve the puzzle of a stolen painting, and the discovery that there is more to the story.
I wanted to slap Cartwright. He really came across as being quite dim.
Dragg, on the other hand, grew on me, as he stepped up over time.
At times I was a bit frustrated with the flow of this book. I felt it could have been smoother, and there were a few details from the previous book mentioned that made me feel I was missing out on something important, but overall this book read just fine as a stand alone.
The mystery itself was intriguing and had plenty of twists. When I thought it was going to be figured out, the story would take off in another direction. It is a combination of family and loyalty and romance and greed. I liked how I got the impression that artists think in some of the same ways as writers. This will change the way I look at art in the future, just as I believe Lena has grown in her appreciation of art also.
A well rounded book. Interesting characters, who showed some development and change, an intriguing mystery, with a different motivation, and other difficulties to overcome as real life could not be put on hold while investigating.
Elizabeth Mundy’s grandmother was a Hungarian immigrant to America who raised five children on a chicken farm in Indiana. An English Literature graduate from Edinburgh University, Elizabeth is a marketing director for an investment firm and lives in London with her messy husband and two young children. A Clean Canvas is the second book in the Lena Szarka mystery series about a Hungarian cleaner who turns detective.
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