Right on the Monet
by Malcolm Parnell
Right on the Monet
Claude Monet painting is stolen
Of all the things Harry Chase had imagined in his life, being a drummer on a cruise ship band was not one that would have occurred to him. And yet, there he was. Centre stage, behind a young female singer along with his mates, Dave, Tony and Steve.
Which meant that getting involved in a jewellery theft, an on-board massage parlour and the hunt for an Old Master was even further from his mind as he cracked the snare drum.
And yet, this was exactly how he found himself being questioned by Interpol …..
I’m a bit of an addict when it comes to art crime, so the moment I read the blurb for this I was begging Rachel @rararesources for a place on the blog tour.
However, as far as the art crime element of this mystery goes, the story falls a little flat for me. The prologue sets the scene after the Monet painting has been stolen from the NYC gallery, then it’s not mentioned again until I’m 45% into the book. At which point, it’s a fleeting remark about the theft and a small reference to a framed print of the stolen painting on sale in the on-board art gallery.
Until that point, the story centres on the gang of six (seven when joined by Clem) and their cruise trip, which also happens to be their first public gig as a band. Don’t get me wrong, the story is jam-packed with funny moments, laugh-out-loud chuckles as a result of well-written dialogue and witty one-liners. That said, it’s also filled to the rafters with sexual innuendo, the like of which I haven’t seen since watching dodgy 1970s sitcoms. In fact, it was turning into a 1970s sitcom on the Love Boat, given the constant sexual objectification of women. For me, some scenes are quite uncomfortable to read, to the extent that skimming became a necessity to avoid my eyes rolling out of my head. I’d go as far to say the characters are clear stereotypes – maybe this was the author’s intention – the women are all ‘painted’ in the style of those “Real Housewives” shows where all they want to do is shop; the narrator (Harry) and Steve are seriously obsessed with ogling and fantasising about women (particularly for Harry, his friend’s wife, and for Steve any woman with a pulse, but especially, lesbian Clem and the sexy Sofia). Dave and Tony bring some balance to the story, as do the other characters involved in the mystery which finally kicks in at 69%.
To be fair, the art mystery does turn out to be quite a good little story when it gets going. Add that to the on-board shenanigans of finding a thief among the crew and/or passengers, the band-playing scenes, and the adventures as they visit several beautiful cities when the ship docks each day, and the subplots all come together well. Maybe I just expected more on the art element; although it’s obvious the author himself loves to paint as he has a real talent for description. Through his words, the MC, Harry, sees the world as a canvas and is able to use his own painting knowledge to contrast the shadiness of the criminal activity on board with the lightness of humour and wit.
If you’re looking for a book to make you chuckle, then this will do just that. It’s probably more aimed at men though, as it does feel a tad dated in terms of the characters’ attitudes to women. A fun, easy-to-read mystery, but you do have to wait some time for the ‘arty-farty’ bit 😉
His other passion, apart from his good lady wife, Marion, is Leicester City Football Club.
Becoming an author and Leicester win the Premier League have been two of his greatest ambitions realised.
Social Media Links:
Twitter – @PaintAuthor
Facebook – malcolmparnellbook
Unfortunately, at the time of posting there were no purchase links available.
Once they arrive from the publisher, the post will be updated accordingly.
For more reviews, guest posts and excerpts, take a look at some of the other blogs on this tour.