In the vein of Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie novels comes a smart thriller with literary chops. Art appraiser Helena Marsh explores shady deals and complicated history as she navigates post-WWII corruption in the art world.
“This peppy thriller from Porter bursts with banter and tantalizes the reader with half-revelations and game-changing twists.” — Kirkus Reviews
“[A]n intelligent and exhilarating thriller.” — Publishers Weekly
“A gripping thriller set against the rich post-war history of middle-Europe.” — Staunch Book Prize Committee
When wealthy octogenarian Geza Marton hires art expert Helena Marsh to buy back his family’s Titian painting, Helena flies to Budapest to close what she expects will be a reasonably simple sale. But nothing is ever simple in this beautiful, flawed city where corruption abounds. Helena discovers that there are multiple bidders for the painting, including some dangerous Slavs. Soon there are also dead bodies, and a complicated history that leads her to men Marton knew in Vorkuta, one of Stalin’s notorious gulags.
As she works to unravel the truth of the painting’s ownership and dodges her tail, the dogged ex-detective Attila Feher, Helena is forced to call on all her considerable skills to stay alive and out of jail. Smart, fast-paced, and wildly entertaining, The Appraisal is a terrific thriller set against Budapest’s corruption and lost promise.
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Born in Budapest, Anna Porter is the award-winning author of seven books, both non-fiction (The Ghosts of Europe, Kasztner’s Train, The Storyteller, and Buying a Better World) and mystery novels (Mortal Sins, Hidden Agenda, and Bookfair Murders). She co-founded Key Porter Books, an influential publishing house she ran for over 20 years. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada and has received the Order of Ontario. She lives in Toronto with her husband and the occasionally behaved dachshund, Gustav.
Published: October 2017
Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 in.
“Anna Porter’s latest novel combines a number of interesting subjects … it offers an opportunity to consider what is truly valuable in life.” — Quill & Quire
“[A]n intelligent and exhilarating thriller … Porter’s stylish story vividly transports readers to Budapest and other European locales and keeps them hooked as her well-developed characters navigate corruption and deception” — Publishers Weekly
“If you want to take a quick trip to Budapest, this book is your ride. Anna Porter knows the byways and cafés of her native town and spins a web of mystery around an art heist, Ukrainian criminals and money laundering. In short, we have everything we want in an Eastern European crime novel.” — Globe and Mail
“Intricate and atmospheric … Porter’s plots are a deft and entertaining blend of caper, crime, and thriller elements, but it's this context as well as their setting — primarily Hungary, a place where, as one observer remarks, ‘the present was so deeply rooted in the past, it was not even the past’ — that gives them their rich texture and unexpected depth.” — Canadian Notes & Queries
“Porter’s offbeat thriller yields tension and humor from its revolving perspectives as well as its deep bench of colorful supporting characters … This peppy thriller from Porter (Kasztner’s Train, 2008, etc.) bursts with banter and tantalizes the reader with half-revelations and game-changing twists.” — Kirkus Reviews
“All of this is daring and mystifying fun, and includes along the way a tour through everything that’s fascinating about Budapest’s history, especially the appalling bits.” — Toronto Star
“A gripping thriller set against the rich post-war history of middle-Europe where fortunes were reversed through war, revolution and shifting political regimes and where the past itself cannot be trusted. Born in Budapest, Canadian writer Anna Porter generously shares her knowledge of time and place and impresses with detailed insights into the world of art history and appropriation, big money deals and the quest for restitution.” — Staunch Book Prize