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A Trace of Deceit

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From the author ofA Dangerous Duet comes the next book in her Victorian mystery series, this time following a daring female painter and the Scotland Yard detective who is investigating her brother’s suspicious death. A young painter digs beneath the veneer of Victorian London’s art world to learn the truth behind her brother’s murder... Edwin is dead. That’s what Inspector From the author of A Dangerous Duet comes the next book in her Victorian mystery series, this time following a daring female painter and the Scotland Yard detective who is investigating her brother’s suspicious death. A young painter digs beneath the veneer of Victorian London’s art world to learn the truth behind her brother’s murder... Edwin is dead. That’s what Inspector Matthew Hallam of Scotland Yard tells Annabel Rowe when she discovers him searching her brother’s flat for clues. While the news is shocking, Annabel can’t say it’s wholly unexpected, given Edwin’s past as a dissolute risk-taker and art forger, although he swore he’d reformed. After years spent blaming his reckless behavior for their parents’ deaths, Annabel is now faced with the question of who murdered him—because Edwin’s death was both violent and deliberate. A valuable French painting he’d been restoring for an auction house is missing from his studio: find the painting, find the murderer. But the owner of the artwork claims it was destroyed in a warehouse fire years ago. As a painter at the prestigious Slade School of Art and as Edwin’s closest relative, Annabel makes the case that she is crucial to Matthew’s investigation. But in their search for the painting, Matthew and Annabel trace a path of deceit and viciousness that reaches far beyond the elegant rooms of the auction house, into an underworld of politics, corruption, and secrets someone will kill to keep.    


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From the author ofA Dangerous Duet comes the next book in her Victorian mystery series, this time following a daring female painter and the Scotland Yard detective who is investigating her brother’s suspicious death. A young painter digs beneath the veneer of Victorian London’s art world to learn the truth behind her brother’s murder... Edwin is dead. That’s what Inspector From the author of A Dangerous Duet comes the next book in her Victorian mystery series, this time following a daring female painter and the Scotland Yard detective who is investigating her brother’s suspicious death. A young painter digs beneath the veneer of Victorian London’s art world to learn the truth behind her brother’s murder... Edwin is dead. That’s what Inspector Matthew Hallam of Scotland Yard tells Annabel Rowe when she discovers him searching her brother’s flat for clues. While the news is shocking, Annabel can’t say it’s wholly unexpected, given Edwin’s past as a dissolute risk-taker and art forger, although he swore he’d reformed. After years spent blaming his reckless behavior for their parents’ deaths, Annabel is now faced with the question of who murdered him—because Edwin’s death was both violent and deliberate. A valuable French painting he’d been restoring for an auction house is missing from his studio: find the painting, find the murderer. But the owner of the artwork claims it was destroyed in a warehouse fire years ago. As a painter at the prestigious Slade School of Art and as Edwin’s closest relative, Annabel makes the case that she is crucial to Matthew’s investigation. But in their search for the painting, Matthew and Annabel trace a path of deceit and viciousness that reaches far beyond the elegant rooms of the auction house, into an underworld of politics, corruption, and secrets someone will kill to keep.    

30 review for A Trace of Deceit

  1. 5 out of 5

    WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker

    3.5 stars I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Annabel has been working to trust her brother again after he is released from jail for counterfeiting paintings but when she arrives at his flat to find two plainclothes detectives, she knows something is direly wrong. With her art world knowledge, Annabel could be a tremendous help to Inspector Matthew as he searches for an art thief and murderer but 3.5 stars I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Annabel has been working to trust her brother again after he is released from jail for counterfeiting paintings but when she arrives at his flat to find two plainclothes detectives, she knows something is direly wrong. With her art world knowledge, Annabel could be a tremendous help to Inspector Matthew as he searches for an art thief and murderer but it's getting increasingly hard for him to put her in danger. Suspects are lining up, plots are thickening, and buried secrets are getting revealed in this Victorian murder mystery. “I think all our memories have a trace of deceit in them,” Matthew said, his expression regretful. A Dangerous Duet, first in the Victorian Mystery series, introduced readers to the heroine's brother Matthew. A broody, overworked Inspector who took time and care with his thoughts and actions. I enjoyed watching him think and deduct in this continuation of the series. However, this is very much Annabel's story. Reader's come up on her as she has a sinking feeling about her brother Edwin, but as he has disappointed her in the past about turning his life around, she arrives at his flat annoyed that she is worried about him. This makes the impact of learning he was murdered hit her harder as guilt takes over. As this story is told from Annabel's point of view, readers really get into her head and I found her to be a calm, thoughtful, and intelligent heroine. The murder mystery plot has Matthew trying to solve who and why murdered Edwin and possibly stole a painting he was cleaning. Was the murder random, was the painting the crux of the murder, or was Edwin targeted because of instances in his past? The author did a good job providing us with red-herrings: Felix is a friend of Annabel and Edwin and he gave the painting to Edwin to clean for his auction house. When it comes out that the painting could be a forgery, his reputation and livelihood are on the line. The seller of the painting, a widow, claims the painting was supposed to be a gift for her anniversary from her late husband but she is also in need of money. The step-son of the man who supposedly sold it to the widow's husband, claims it was burned in a fire and the painting has to be a forgery but if not, he wants it back; his relationship was very contentious with his step-father. Then lastly, possible enemies from Edwin's childhood school days. I thought the author's strong suit was in providing these possible suspects and developing their reasons, slowly revealing them to the reader. This kept me guessing, involved, and locked into the mystery. Tying in and keeping Annabel involved with the investigation, through her art world knowledge, got a bit too in depth for me at times. I'm not a particular art connoisseur but others that are would maybe enjoy the name dropping and dive into paintings and painters that were popular or emerging during this time period. The author also includes some political background and tied in some real events, the Pantechnicon burning down, that helped set the period feel and gave the story more authenticity for me. The focus of the story is very much on the art world and wadding through facts, backstories, characters, and revealed secrets to find out who and why Edwin was murdered, the romance between Annabel and Matthew is probably only around 3% of this stories focus. I was surprised, though, that the last 10% was so emotional for me, be prepared to have some of the slow, steady reveals from the murder mystery to hit you hard at the end. With the way the author hit me with this emotional writing, I was a little disappointed I didn't feel it throughout the story; the art world talk eclipsed it. Regardless, if looking for a Victorian murder mystery immersed in the art world, A Trace of Deceit delivers with meaningful red-herrings and an affecting end.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mackenzie - PhDiva Books

    A Victorian mystery with everything you could want—a strong leading lady, a murder in London’s art world, a meticulous detective, and a missing painting. A Trace of Deceit is a gripping and complex mystery set in the world of Victorian London’s art scene that historical mystery fans will not want to miss! Though it’s the second in a series by Karen Odden, A Trace of Deceit definitely works as a stand-alone mystery. The series is based on the time period and our leading detective Matthew Hallam. A Victorian mystery with everything you could want—a strong leading lady, a murder in London’s art world, a meticulous detective, and a missing painting. A Trace of Deceit is a gripping and complex mystery set in the world of Victorian London’s art scene that historical mystery fans will not want to miss! Though it’s the second in a series by Karen Odden, A Trace of Deceit definitely works as a stand-alone mystery. The series is based on the time period and our leading detective Matthew Hallam. Though Hallam is the detective here, I felt that this mystery is truly about Annabel Rowe, the mystery of her brother’s murder, and the art world. I’ve always loved mysteries involving art! Art is rare in a way that a dollar worth can’t quite capture. It is part of history, it is passion, it is intelligence, and it is creation. If there is one thing this mystery shows, it’s that secrets in the art world are worth killing for… Annabel is an art student and she has spent a long time feeling somewhat estranged from her brother Edwin. Edwin has served time for art forgery in the past, so when Annabel finds Scotland Yard in his apartment one afternoon, she worries he is up to his old tricks again. Edwin has been murdered and the search for clues reveals a famous painting that he was restoring is missing from his flat. To further complicate matters, the painting was alleged to have burned in a fire several years earlier. Was it a forgery or the real painting? I liked the focus on Annabel and her relationship with her brother. Edwin’s past was very troubled, but there were years in childhood where Annabel and Edwin were close. When they got older and Edwin had troubles with alcohol and ultimately with drugs, he stopped being the same brother she once knew. This added to the complexity of the mystery, because Annabel sought not just to discover who murdered Edwin, but also to understand who he was and what was happening in his life that led to his death. Not only did I find the mystery to be completely gripping, but I found Annabel herself to be such a great character. I like to see a progressive Victorian woman, and Annabel seems to have that liberal nature that we want, but also authentic to the time. The book itself is filled with intrigue, tension, and suspense. I didn’t want it to end! Thank you to TLC Book Tours and William Morrow for my copy. Opinions are my own.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Anne Morgan

    Annabel Rowe has been slowly working to reconcile with her brother Edwin, but one day she arrives at his flat to discover two detectives there with the news that Edwin is dead. Murdered, with a valuable painting he had been cleaning now missing. Annabel needs to understand what happened to her brother to gain some closure on his death (and life) and she convinces Inspector Matthew Hallam that her knowledge of the art world and Edwin will prove valuable to discovering his murderer. But what they Annabel Rowe has been slowly working to reconcile with her brother Edwin, but one day she arrives at his flat to discover two detectives there with the news that Edwin is dead. Murdered, with a valuable painting he had been cleaning now missing. Annabel needs to understand what happened to her brother to gain some closure on his death (and life) and she convinces Inspector Matthew Hallam that her knowledge of the art world and Edwin will prove valuable to discovering his murderer. But what they discover is the darkness behind the art world, where secrets fester and can prove worth killing for. A Trace of Deceit is an engrossing Victorian mystery with a strong central figure in Annabel. A student at the Slade Art School, she is trying to find her place in the masculine world of painting. She sees herself as an observer instead of a participant in the world and holds herself apart from fellow students and her older brother, trying to prevent herself from being hurt. But Annabel is only fooling herself- she's a caring, compassionate woman who feels deeply. Edwin's death hits her hard, but she finds strength in working with Matthew to discover the killer. She doesn't shy away from hard truths, although she might not think of them as automatically as a more cynical person would. And there are plenty of hard truths about Edwin that she has to accept in order to understand his murder. Where Odden's A Dangerous Duet brought readers into intimate contact with the city of London, A Trace of Deceit focuses on its people. Like Annabel herself, we focus on how they interact, what they show, and what they hide. We see through the eyes of a painter the light and the dark that make up the world around Annabel and Matthew. Odden uses this not only to give the reader brilliant descriptions of the lives around our heroes, but to plant red herrings and clues with equal strength, forcing the reader to continually adjust their view of what seems, at first, to be a simple murder. Engrossing from start to finish, A Trace of Deceit will keep readers guessing from start to finish, in a book impossible to put down until the last stone is unturned and the last secret is revealed. Full of heart and empathy, Odden explores how individuals deal with personal and family tragedies, betrayals, and secrets. A must read for fans of Sherry Thomas, Anne Perry, and Victorian mystery lovers everywhere.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    This story takes me back to high school and the books I loved to lose myself in! Karen Odden has become a favorite author. In its review of this book, Publisher’s Weekly wrote: “Odden keenly evokes the physical as well as cultural milieu of Victorian England, and peoples her setting with fully realized and intriguing characters.” (clean read)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I probably shouldn't say this, but this is my favorite of my three books. In writing, as with most things, there is no substitute for experience, and as I developed this book, I simply had more tools at hand to create rounded characters. I also had enough faith in the process to let the characters speak back to me and add their own nuance and complexity to my initial plot, and to let myself feel the depth of all of Annabel's emotions--even the most uncomfortable ones--the wistful longing, her I probably shouldn't say this, but this is my favorite of my three books. In writing, as with most things, there is no substitute for experience, and as I developed this book, I simply had more tools at hand to create rounded characters. I also had enough faith in the process to let the characters speak back to me and add their own nuance and complexity to my initial plot, and to let myself feel the depth of all of Annabel's emotions--even the most uncomfortable ones--the wistful longing, her resentment, her worry and concern for Edwin, her loneliness, her regret, and her guilt. There are two main plot arcs here: first, the solving of the mystery of Edwin's death; and second, the evolution and progress of Annabel's character. It took many drafts to find the way these two plots twined together and to balance them, and I hope my readers find the result as satisfying as I do.

  6. 5 out of 5

    N.N. Light

    When painter Annabel Rowe discovers a Scotland Yard Inspector, Matthew Hallam, in her brother’s flat, she knows something is amiss but never thought she’d hear her brother’s been murdered. A valuable painting he’d been restoring is missing and Annabel knows it’s the key to finding her brother’s murderer. Teaming up with Matthew, they enter the underbelly of the art world. As they sift through lies, deception, and evasion, the investigation takes a surprising turn and puts Annabel in the When painter Annabel Rowe discovers a Scotland Yard Inspector, Matthew Hallam, in her brother’s flat, she knows something is amiss but never thought she’d hear her brother’s been murdered. A valuable painting he’d been restoring is missing and Annabel knows it’s the key to finding her brother’s murderer. Teaming up with Matthew, they enter the underbelly of the art world. As they sift through lies, deception, and evasion, the investigation takes a surprising turn and puts Annabel in the crosshairs of a killer. Can she escape with her life or will she be the next victim? I’m a huge historical mystery fan and A Trace of Deceit is a delight for the senses. Karen Odden plunges the reader into the past with historically accurate descriptive narration, colourful characters, an independent heroine, and a suspenseful mystery. The plot moves at a good pace with a few twists I didn’t see coming. The mystery itself stimulated my mind and I honestly didn’t figure it out until the very end. Well done. A Trace of Deceit is reminiscent of Anne Perry’s Victorian mysteries. Highly recommend! My Rating: 5 stars Reviewed by: Mrs. N This review first appeared: https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/po...

  7. 5 out of 5

    K

    “I think all of our memories have a trace of deceit in them.” Trace of Deceit is the second book I’ve read by Karen Odden, and I LOVED everything about it. Annabel and Matthew are delightful characters, not perfect but human and realistic. Ms. Odden has clearly done her research because her descriptions of art, painting and the auction world are detailed and expansive. She doesn’t shy away from the ugliness of human nature, especially when Matthew’s case takes the pair to visit the boarding “I think all of our memories have a trace of deceit in them.” Trace of Deceit is the second book I’ve read by Karen Odden, and I LOVED everything about it. Annabel and Matthew are delightful characters, not perfect but human and realistic. Ms. Odden has clearly done her research because her descriptions of art, painting and the auction world are detailed and expansive. She doesn’t shy away from the ugliness of human nature, especially when Matthew’s case takes the pair to visit the boarding school Annabel’s brother attended. More than a cozy mystery, everything about this story is enjoyable. So well done! P.S. Many thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC.

  8. 4 out of 5

    VL

    I just really love these books.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tamara

    My patient anticipation of A Trace of Deceit was sweetly rewarded when I began started reading on New Year's Day, and most of it was spent reading it! It did not disappoint as I have found in the previous novels of Karen Odden. It was easy to fall into the world of Annabel Rowe as she finds out that her brother Edwin Rowe is dead, and not just that, he's been murdered. But for what and why? Annabel is determined to find out what happened to her older brother? She feels guilty of not feeling that My patient anticipation of A Trace of Deceit was sweetly rewarded when I began started reading on New Year's Day, and most of it was spent reading it! It did not disappoint as I have found in the previous novels of Karen Odden. It was easy to fall into the world of Annabel Rowe as she finds out that her brother Edwin Rowe is dead, and not just that, he's been murdered. But for what and why? Annabel is determined to find out what happened to her older brother? She feels guilty of not feeling that she had forgiven Edwin for what happened at Tennersley, and all the unknown variables that she isn't even aware of before his passing. The main characters of Annabel Rowe and Matthew Hallam were wonderful to read about. I thought Matthew was the most wonderful fictional gentleman, he was respectful, kind, gentle, strong, courageous, and I could go on forever about Matthew...:) He's the kind of policeman that should populate every police department. In short, it was wonderfully written. I look forward to the next novel by Ms. Odden!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Norah Gibbons

    I received an ARC of this book to read through Edelweiss+ in exchange for a fair review. A Trace of Deceit is the third book in Karen Odden’s Victorian Mystery series. It can be read as a stand-alone. Artist Edwin Rowe has been murdered and his death seems to be tied to a missing painting, one that was supposed to have been destroyed in a fire five years previously. Annabel Rowe also an artist is determined to solve the mystery of her brothers death at a time when he finally seemed to be getting I received an ARC of this book to read through Edelweiss+ in exchange for a fair review. A Trace of Deceit is the third book in Karen Odden’s Victorian Mystery series. It can be read as a stand-alone. Artist Edwin Rowe has been murdered and his death seems to be tied to a missing painting, one that was supposed to have been destroyed in a fire five years previously. Annabel Rowe also an artist is determined to solve the mystery of her brothers death at a time when he finally seemed to be getting his life back on track after period of trouble and incarceration. With the help of Inspector Matthew Hallam of Scotland Yard she finds that nothing is as it first seemed and finding the truth will change her perceptions of both past and present. I enjoyed reading this book immensely and highly recommend it. Publishing Date December 17, 2019. #Edelweissplus #ATraceOfDeceit #VictorianMysteryNovel #Bookstagram #HistoricalFiction #KarenOdden

  11. 5 out of 5

    Linda Rorex

    This second book from the Victorian Mystery series by Karen Odden tells the story of Annabel Rowe and her quest to find the killer who murdered her brother Edwin. Inspector Matthew Hallam from Scotland Yard is sent to investigate Edwin’s murder. Matthew with the help of Annabel uncover deceit and deceptions in the art world. I really enjoyed reading this cozy mystery book. I received this free book and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Marlene

    Originally published at Reading Reality “I think all our memories have a trace of deceit in them,” at least according to Inspector Matthew Hallam, the hero of our story – and of the previous book in this series, A Dangerous Duet. He’s not wrong, not in the context of the story, and not in real life, either. It’s been said that looking at a memory is like opening a page in a book, and that every time we do so, we change it just a little bit – blur the edges, smudge a section, make it sound better – Originally published at Reading Reality “I think all our memories have a trace of deceit in them,” at least according to Inspector Matthew Hallam, the hero of our story – and of the previous book in this series, A Dangerous Duet. He’s not wrong, not in the context of the story, and not in real life, either. It’s been said that looking at a memory is like opening a page in a book, and that every time we do so, we change it just a little bit – blur the edges, smudge a section, make it sound better – or worse – until the original memory has been altered into the memory of the story we tell ourselves – and everyone else. Sometimes we remember things, situations, people being better or happier than they really were. And sometimes we remember them as worse. It all depends on whatever story we want – or need – to tell ourselves. Annabel Rowe has spent most of her adult years telling herself the story of how her brother Edwin abandoned her. And he did. Edwin fell into drink and eventually drugs at school, and didn’t quite manage to fall out until after a prison sentence made him rethink his life. It probably helped that the man Edwin was rebelling against, their father, was dead. But Edwin and Annabel had been best friends and close companions as children. And when Edwin was sent off to boarding school, things changed – and not for the better. He did more than leave her behind – as was inevitable. He stopped communicating. And then, like so many addicts, he started making promises he couldn’t – or wouldn’t – keep. He seemed to have turned over a new leaf after prison. Now Annabel and Edwin, both artists, both living on their own in London, had begun a tentative friendship. Annabel was beginning to trust again – but just couldn’t let go of her old hurts. Hurts which were real and legion. She feared, reasonably so, that Edwin would slide back into his old habits and abandon her again. They were both young, there was plenty of time to get back to where they used to be – or at least an adult approximation of it. Until the day that Annabel went to Edwin’s flat and found the police, in the person of Inspector Matthew Hallam, inspecting the scene of his death. Time has run out for Annabel and Edwin to repair their relationship. But it has just begun on Annabel’s opportunity to provide justice for the brother she still loved. If she and Hallam can manage to figure out exactly why Edwin was killed. At the heart of this case lies yet another deceit of memory. Escape Rating A-: I liked A Trace of Deceit better than its predecessor, A Dangerous Duet. The first story was very plot driven, and it felt like the characters, particularly its central character Nell Hallam (Matthew’s sister) was a vehicle for the plot rather than a fully-fleshed out person. (That all being said, it feels like the link between the two books is fairly loose, and this book can definitely be read as a stand-alone.) A Trace of Deceit, on the other hand, was very much Annabel’s story. She feels like a more rounded person as we explore not just where she is now, but her childhood, her relationship with her brother, with their parents, and her conflicted feelings about who she is and where she’s been. While I did figure out what happened to Edwin in the past, what made him change, fairly early in the investigation, this is not after all Edwin’s story. And I understood and empathized with Annabel’s need to finally figure out the person her brother had been and what made him that person – and what led to his death. The title of the story is ironic in a way. Annabel had remembered her childhood with Edwin as being less bright than it was in order to sustain her caution and mistrust. In her investigation of his murder she reclaims the brighter memories of their childhood. Even as she wonders whether they have only become so bright because she needs them to be, or whether she suppressed them because they only made Edwin’s frequent betrayals sharper. But Edwin’s death is the result of someone else’s deceitful memories. Someone who has cast Edwin as the villain of their story rather than tarnish the image of someone they held dear. So, I enjoyed the story and found the mystery fascinating. But what made the book for me was the character of Annabel and the way that she fit into her setting. One of the things that can be difficult about female protagonists in historical fiction is the need for the character to have agency and yet not seem out of her time in either attitudes or opportunities. Annabel feels like she belongs. Her story was set at a time when women could just manage to have an independent life if circumstances aligned. She has just enough income to keep herself, but has to be frugal about her expenses. She lives on her own and that’s accepted and acceptable. She doesn’t expect anyone to rescue her or take care of her – and she’s right not to do so. Nothing is easy for her as a woman alone – but it is possible in a way that feels right. I read this one in a single day and felt like the story closed properly and yet I was a bit sad to see it end. Not that I wanted Annabel’s travails to go on a moment longer – more that I was hoping there would be an opportunity to visit her again.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lauren James (storied.adventures)

    Full review on my blog, Storied Adventures! I don't know how else to say it except that this was a relaxing and cozy read. It was perfect to wrap up my year with. A perfect Winter read. I loved learning a bit about the art world and art itself. This is one of those instances where I can really say I learned something from reading a fictional book! I loved Annabel's determined, yet kind spirit. Matthew was a great fit for her! And I hurt really badly after finding out Edwin's secret. So sad!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Morgan

    An engaging Victorian mystery involving a murder and the disappearance of a priceless French painting. Delving into the dubious goings on of the better known auction houses makes the mystery even more compelling. Annabel Rowe, art student and sister of the murder victim, is a charming protagonist. This is #2 in a series. I did not read #1 but it didn’t seem to make a difference. I quite enjoyed this one.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alix

    It's a cozy historical mystery! This is the 2nd book in the Victorian Mystery series (A Dangerous Duet is the first). Think of it as Downton Abbey, Sherlock Holmes and a cozy crime story in one! A Trace of Deceit is a suspenseful story with secrets and a setting that perfectly captures the underbelly of London’s art world in a bygone era. It's about a young painter who digs beneath the veneer of Victorian London’s art world to learn the truth behind her brother’s murder... I enjoyed this It's a cozy historical mystery! This is the 2nd book in the Victorian Mystery series (A Dangerous Duet is the first). Think of it as Downton Abbey, Sherlock Holmes and a cozy crime story in one! A Trace of Deceit is a suspenseful story with secrets and a setting that perfectly captures the underbelly of London’s art world in a bygone era. It's about a young painter who digs beneath the veneer of Victorian London’s art world to learn the truth behind her brother’s murder... I enjoyed this Victorian-era historical mystery. It's well written with fun characters. Anyone who enjoys historical mysteries will enjoy this book. Thank you to TLC Book Tours and William Morrow for my copy!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    Sometimes the things that seem obvious, the acts that seem to be a continuation of wrong doing of the past, a casual indifference to a loved one all come together to cause you pain and make you see that your outlook on life is colored by others. Annabelle wasn't shocked to find out Edwin was dead. He had, after all, very recently come out of prison for art forgery. Yes, he had proclaimed his innocence but did anyone believe him? As this story unfolds, the heroine finds herself getting deeper and Sometimes the things that seem obvious, the acts that seem to be a continuation of wrong doing of the past, a casual indifference to a loved one all come together to cause you pain and make you see that your outlook on life is colored by others. Annabelle wasn't shocked to find out Edwin was dead. He had, after all, very recently come out of prison for art forgery. Yes, he had proclaimed his innocence but did anyone believe him? As this story unfolds, the heroine finds herself getting deeper and deeper into a gritty world that she had always thought was pristine and maybe even glamorous. As a good artist herself, she soon found out just how grasping and greedy collectors can be. Good story, wonderful plot, great meaty characters, and best of all, clean and wholesome. This book was a great pleasure to read, and I will be scouring Amazon for her other books. Great work, Karen Odden, may you write many more. Thank you Goodreads and William Morrow Publishers for finding me a new author to enjoy.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Gray

    Edwin drank too much, gambled too much, and wasted his talent forging art created by others. However, he was Annabel's brother and she is determined to find out what happened to him. Luckily, Inspector Matthew Hallem has been assigned his case and he's willing to let her assist him in the inquiry, especially since she's a talented artist with connections in that realm he doesn't have. Edwin was in the process of restoring a painting when he was murdered = a painting which went missing. These two Edwin drank too much, gambled too much, and wasted his talent forging art created by others. However, he was Annabel's brother and she is determined to find out what happened to him. Luckily, Inspector Matthew Hallem has been assigned his case and he's willing to let her assist him in the inquiry, especially since she's a talented artist with connections in that realm he doesn't have. Edwin was in the process of restoring a painting when he was murdered = a painting which went missing. These two make a great pair of investigators in this nicely atmospheric historical mystery. While it is the second in the series, it's easily read as a standalone (I highly recommend the first one, btw). Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC. Perfect for fans of the genre.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Kenneth - PerfectionistWannabe.com

    I absolutely loved this Victorian tale wrapped in solving a murder in the art world. I will say that I thought I had it all figured out midway through the book, only to be completely wrong, because Odden does not introduce the real evidence until the last half of the book. I literally sat there thinking I had this all wrong. I love that Odden used a woman as the lead character to work with police to find out who killed her brother. She was respected, not tossed to the side because she was a I absolutely loved this Victorian tale wrapped in solving a murder in the art world. I will say that I thought I had it all figured out midway through the book, only to be completely wrong, because Odden does not introduce the real evidence until the last half of the book. I literally sat there thinking I had this all wrong. I love that Odden used a woman as the lead character to work with police to find out who killed her brother. She was respected, not tossed to the side because she was a woman. I liked that Odden gave her opportunities that were still fresh and new for women in that age, like allowing her to be an art student at the Slade. I was heartbroken for her brother. He did not have it easy at all, like first born boys usually have it. He had problems with his father, problems at school, which allowed him to become a victim, ultimately leading to death. Even though this is book 2, you can read this as a stand alone. You do not need to read Book #1 to get into this tale. This book was so good, I had a hard time putting it down. It grips you in from page one all the way until the end. There is never a dull moment. It is filled with so much suspense. You'll even learn a thing or two about art, the forgery world, and auction houses. The book is marvelously done. Content Warnings: Death, Sexual Abuse of Minors, Violence Against Women (battery).

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    I love a good historical mystery. I get to learn about some aspect of history, in this case the Victorian art world, while enjoying a good whodunnit. This book was no exception. I was a little hesitant, since this was book 2 in a series, but as it happens the books are set in the same general time frame, but are not truly related. The story centers around the murder of an artist during an art theft. A valuable French painting goes missing while being restored. Only after its disappearance do the I love a good historical mystery. I get to learn about some aspect of history, in this case the Victorian art world, while enjoying a good whodunnit. This book was no exception. I was a little hesitant, since this was book 2 in a series, but as it happens the books are set in the same general time frame, but are not truly related.  The story centers around the murder of an artist during an art theft. A valuable French painting goes missing while being restored. Only after its disappearance do the police learn about a dispute over the ownership of the missing painting. Meanwhile the artist's sister, who is an art student herself, joins the hunt for the killer. Annabel and the police inspector dig through the past to track down the painting - and the murderer. I feel like a lot of writers struggle to get it right when writing a historical mystery with a female main character. They give her modern attitudes and allow her modern freedoms that are completely out of place. While I understand wanting to showcase some parts of life that have been left out of existing mysteries, throwing a totally modern character into a 19th century story just doesn't work. In this case, I felt like Annabel's story was authentic enough. The Slade did accept female students, and there were female artists. I just question whether a single young woman would wander about so much on her own. Would people really take her seriously enough to answer her questions? Most of the time she accompanied the inspector, though, so that was mostly OK. I did like the characters and the story moved at a good pace. This one definitely kept my interest. I liked it enough that I'd be happy to go back and read the first book. This book was just released this week. I read it in paperback and I have to thank the publisher for the chance to read this one.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Lately I have been having trouble concentrating on anything but the fluffiest and most obvious stories, but this very good book drew me in and kept me moving along with an interesting plot. A young painter with a troubled past is found dead in his studio, the work he had been restoring is missing. Who would have wanted the painting enough to kill for it? This book is loosely related to Odden's last Victorian mystery. I have enjoyed all her books very much.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

    This follow up to the first in the Victorian Mystery series satisfied and seemed to be a tad tighter in terms of plot. The focus now is on Annabelle, an aspiring artist, who shares artistic tendencies with her troubled older brother Edwin. When Edwin is murdered she forms an alliance with Matthew, the Scotland Yard detective from the first book in the series. The author establishes the time period really well through the happenings in the art world and auction houses of the time.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dottie Lootens

    I just finished A Trace of Deceit at midnight last night. It is a compelling mystery that held my attention throughout. I especially enjoyed the exquisite and precise use of the English language in the descriptions of scenes and characters. Looking forward to the next Victorian Mystery.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Chazzi

    I received this book from Library Thing Early Reader. Every other Tuesday Annabel Rowe would meet with her brother, Edwin, for dinner. He'd let her know where to meet the Monday before. This week she hadn't heard from him. In light of this, she went to his flat to see if he was there. Instead she was greeted by two men from Scotland Yard. Edwin had been murdered in his flat. Edwin's murder wasn't the only thing that had occurred at his flat. A valuable French painting had also been stolen. A I received this book from Library Thing Early Reader. Every other Tuesday Annabel Rowe would meet with her brother, Edwin, for dinner. He'd let her know where to meet the Monday before. This week she hadn't heard from him. In light of this, she went to his flat to see if he was there. Instead she was greeted by two men from Scotland Yard. Edwin had been murdered in his flat. Edwin's murder wasn't the only thing that had occurred at his flat. A valuable French painting had also been stolen. A painting that Edwin was restoring prior to it going to auction. Thief and murderer could be one and the same? What turns up is a question of who legally owns the painting: the lady who put it up for auction, the owner who claims it was destroyed in a warehouse fire earlier, or a third party. There is also the mystery behind an accident that killed the spouse of one of these people in question. Was it connected with this incident? Annabel is determined to find Edwin's murderer. She convinces Inspector Matthew Hallam of her value to him and his investigation. She is a painter at the prestigious Slate School of Art. Her knowledge of art and the art world would be advantageous to him. Their investigation leads them to the dark areas of the art world; the politics and corruption found there and elsewhere as they search for clues. It also leads them to the possibility of a little romance. The story is set in Victorian England, in London. I read "A Dangerous Duet" by this author and enjoyed it. This book did not disappoint.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Patty

    I am a big fan of books that center on art. A Trace of Deceit is a bit about art, both painting and the artists that paint. It centers on a brother and sister, both with talent but one is murdered. Edwin and Annabel did not have a happy childhood; both showed signs of artistic talent but Edwin was far better and Annabel is a woman so what good would it do her? Their father was not kind to either one of them but he was far worse to Edwin as he thought he was wasting his talent. He sent Edwin away I am a big fan of books that center on art. A Trace of Deceit is a bit about art, both painting and the artists that paint. It centers on a brother and sister, both with talent but one is murdered. Edwin and Annabel did not have a happy childhood; both showed signs of artistic talent but Edwin was far better and Annabel is a woman so what good would it do her? Their father was not kind to either one of them but he was far worse to Edwin as he thought he was wasting his talent. He sent Edwin away to school and things just went downhill from there. Edwin’s life unraveled and he ends up in jail for forgery. After he serves his time he swears to Annabel that he is a changed man but she is wary about trusting him. She did not expect that when she did not hear from him about their standing Tuesday meeting that he was dead. When she arrives at his apartment she finds two Scotland Yard Officers. This leads to her helping one of them as he tries to find out who killed Edwin and why. What follows is an novel full of engaging characters with a mystery that is twisty and far more than it appears at first. It kept me reading and interested until the last page. The inevitable romance was not forced and played out easily. The information put forth about art and artists did not come across as tutorial and was interesting. All in all a delightful way to spend an afternoon

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Thanks to William Morrow and TLC Book Tours for the free copy in exchange for my honest review and blog tour feature This is book two in the Victorian Mystery series by Karen Odden. Book one was A DANGEROUS DUET (4 stars for me!) and I was looking forward to continuing the series. A TRACE OF DECEIT can be read as a standalone, so if it sounds of interest then you don’t need to worry about feeling lost if you start here. Another solid historical fiction meets mystery read and I was completely Thanks to William Morrow and TLC Book Tours for the free copy in exchange for my honest review and blog tour feature This is book two in the Victorian Mystery series by Karen Odden. Book one was A DANGEROUS DUET (4 stars for me!) and I was looking forward to continuing the series. A TRACE OF DECEIT can be read as a standalone, so if it sounds of interest then you don’t need to worry about feeling lost if you start here. Another solid historical fiction meets mystery read and I was completely engrossed in the era. This is what I remembered the best from book one, Odden sets the scene and period so perfectly that she transports you there. This is one thing I have always loved about historical fiction. Not only that, but the author gives us a great mystery to go along with it! An artist murdered, a missing painting that was supposedly destroyed years ago, and one woman trying to get to the bottom of it. Book one focused more on the setting and the atmosphere, but book two gives us more character development and becomes focused on fleshing them out more. Which, again, good news for those starting the series here, because you’ll get a more in-depth look into the characters!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lia

    I have read this book more than once, for the reason that every time I go through it, I pick up more details and more historical context. Karen Odden's mystery is thoroughly researched and gripping; her protagonist, Annabel Rowe, is intelligent and engaging (not at all a delicate, wifty Victorian lady), and Inspector Hallam is multidimensional and comprehensively developed. The mystery plot leads you from the highest reaches of the art world to the darkest back alleys of 1870s London, making I have read this book more than once, for the reason that every time I go through it, I pick up more details and more historical context. Karen Odden's mystery is thoroughly researched and gripping; her protagonist, Annabel Rowe, is intelligent and engaging (not at all a delicate, wifty Victorian lady), and Inspector Hallam is multidimensional and comprehensively developed. The mystery plot leads you from the highest reaches of the art world to the darkest back alleys of 1870s London, making Karen's expertise in the area (gained through her degree in Victorian railway disasters and her experience at Christie's Auction House in New York) abundantly clear. I'm an avid reader of this genre and can say confidently that this novel was one of the best I've seen. 10/10, would recommend to any fan of the era, the genre, art, history, romance, fresh and spunky characters that pass the Bechdel test, or enormous scandal.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sarah-Hope

    Karen Odden's A Trace of Deceit is a delightful read: an historical mystery with lively characters and enough plot twists to keep readers guessing. The narrative starts with the murder of an artist. HIs sister and a Scotland Yard plainclothesman join forces to try to solve the case. Along the way, one can learn a fair bit about late 19th Century England: British responses to the conflict between Germany and France, the role obscure laws can still play in daily life, the change in tenor and Karen Odden's A Trace of Deceit is a delightful read: an historical mystery with lively characters and enough plot twists to keep readers guessing. The narrative starts with the murder of an artist. HIs sister and a Scotland Yard plainclothesman join forces to try to solve the case. Along the way, one can learn a fair bit about late 19th Century England: British responses to the conflict between Germany and France, the role obscure laws can still play in daily life, the change in tenor and policy that accompanied the transition to Disraeli's Prime Ministership. This attention to detail makes A Trace of Deceit more than just an engaging flight of fancy. Yes, the writer entertains, but while entertaining us, she shows us that she has immersed herself in the period the novel is set in. Recommended for anyone who enjoys historical mysteries.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    It is always nice to start out the year with a book you enjoy. Now I will admit the beautiful cover of A Trace of Deceit drew me to it, however it was Annabel, her brother Erwin and how they were enmeshed in the art world that kept me flying through the pages. . . A murder mystery, a family drama, a view of the art world and a slow burn romance combine to tell this story. A what a beautiful blend it creates! The description of the art work and the inner workings of the art world, in particular, It is always nice to start out the year with a book you enjoy. Now I will admit the beautiful cover of A Trace of Deceit drew me to it, however it was Annabel, her brother Erwin and how they were enmeshed in the art world that kept me flying through the pages. . . A murder mystery, a family drama, a view of the art world and a slow burn romance combine to tell this story. A what a beautiful blend it creates! The description of the art work and the inner workings of the art world, in particular, were fascinating to me. As was the development of Annabel’s sleuthing skills and relationship with Scotland Yard plain clothes policeman Matthew. It all combined to make this a read I didn’t want to put down until the last page. . . In full disclosure, this is the second book in a series but as I haven’t read the first one I can definitely say it didn’t effect my reading of this book. And I am excited to say that the first book, has just come in at the library for me!

  29. 5 out of 5

    S

    Even though I am a devoted fan of mysteries, especially historical ones, this is the first book I have read by Karen Odden. It certainly will not be the last. The title comes from a quote in the book: “I think all of our memories have a trace of deceit in them.” This hints at the fact that as the mystery unfolds there is an underlying theme of things not always having been what was first learned or memories recalled were not always complete or accurate. I found the characters to be interesting Even though I am a devoted fan of mysteries, especially historical ones, this is the first book I have read by Karen Odden. It certainly will not be the last. The title comes from a quote in the book: “I think all of our memories have a trace of deceit in them.” This hints at the fact that as the mystery unfolds there is an underlying theme of things not always having been what was first learned or memories recalled were not always complete or accurate. I found the characters to be interesting and well developed, and the emotions described rang true. The story progressed nicely and the mystery was solved bit by bit in an unforced manner. A very enjoyable mystery read with a hint of romance. This review first appeared on Library Thing as part of their Early Reviews program. Thanks to Harper Collins for the complementary ARC.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Shirley

    Karen Odden did a wonderful job of writing about these characters and bringing them to life so that you could almost feel the characters feelings in her writing. This mystery set in ages past was very well written and kept me interested throughout the whole book. The main character, Annabel, works with Inspector Hallam of Scotland Yard to try to solve the murder of her wayward brother. In doing so, she discovers so much more about her brother than she had ever known. As I do not like to spoil Karen Odden did a wonderful job of writing about these characters and bringing them to life so that you could almost feel the characters feelings in her writing. This mystery set in ages past was very well written and kept me interested throughout the whole book. The main character, Annabel, works with Inspector Hallam of Scotland Yard to try to solve the murder of her wayward brother. In doing so, she discovers so much more about her brother than she had ever known. As I do not like to spoil the story for others, just know that if you like books such as Sherlock Holmes but with a tad bit of romance in it, this book is for you! I truly enjoyed it. I only read before I go to bed and let's just say that some nights I got to bed a bit later than intended because of this book.

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