Connor, Alex - 'Memory of Bones'
A simply superb tale, MEMORY OF BONES will have you hooked as soon as you turn over the first page. Although the plot is based on the mystery of Goya's Black Paintings, and his sought-after missing skull, you do not need to be an art buff in order to enjoy the story. It is full of jealousy, double-dealing and deceit, not to mention the odd murder or two. Knowing a little of Goya's importance to Spain helps add to the tension but it is tense enough without. As with THE REMBRANDT SECRET, my earlier and first experience of reading something by Alex Connor, I was struck by the amount of detail and research that she has put into this book. A clever mix of fact and fiction makes you feel as if you are learning something useful as well as enjoying a fantastically macabre tale.
Ben and Leon Golding are brothers. Ben is a successful surgeon and is based in London, while Leon is a gifted art historian and based in Madrid, at The Prado. A long-time friend of Leon's gives him a skull that he finds while restoring an old house and it looks as if it might be that of Francisco Goya, severed from his body sometime soon after his death and not seen since. Leon gives the skull to Ben to take to London and have authenticated but rumours of its discovery run rife and very soon several far from savoury characters are chasing after securing the prize for themselves, at any cost. As the body count starts to rise, and Ben and Leon find themselves running for their own lives, they realize that there is more to this much-coveted artifact than they first thought.
Well-written, well-researched and extremely enjoyable. This book is a definite must-read for 2013. It makes me want to return to the Prado in Madrid and take a second look at several of the paintings...
Amanda C M Gillies, Scotland