I was fortunate to be given a copy of this book by the author and through The Book Club on Facebook in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
After leaving her job as a top city, high earning accountant, Amy fancies herself as a private eye, a super sleuth, and she has taken a job that will immerse her in history across Europe. Hired by 84-year-old George Smithies, she finds herself tracking down art work that was confiscated by Nazi Germany and may or may not have been part of a haul found in the flat of an eccentric hoarder, Novak, in Prague. Amy and George set out for Prague to battle through the Czech restitution law and in the process meet Amy’s old “friend” Mel and “art historian” Beresford, who is keen to help track down the missing painting thought to have been owned by George’s parents in the 1930s.
During their journey, the Czech law isn’t the only maze to unravel as Amy establishes family ties between her client and the hoarder Novak, flaws in the history of the business partnership of George’s father, and an interest in her investigation from an unknown third party which puts Amy and George in real danger. No one is quite who or what they claim to be and with her own troubled background, and her dependence on alcohol, Amy is not always best placed to play super sleuth!
This is the third in the Crazy Amy series and I have to admit to not having read the first two – or even realising that there were two others! It can be read as a stand-alone, but I think that I would recommend reading from the beginning as Amy’s personal dysfunctional history and her relationships with Mel and George have already been established and there are references that I didn’t get! But I really took to Amy. She has so many imperfections, a massive chip on her shoulder, an alcohol problem and an alter ego called Little Amy (who I didn’t understand at first having not read the other books)….but she is so real. I love the humour that Rose Edmunds has infused into the writing of this character! She constantly describes the extra weight she has gained round her middle (so many women relate to this!) and Amy refuses to acknowledge her alcohol problem, deeming the staff at the infamous Priory to be “idiots” for suggesting it. She builds up a relationship with both the smelly hoarder Novak, who says “I admire a woman who can drink”, and the aristocratic Rudolf Strnad. She has a love/hate relationship with Mel. The bitchy description by Amy of eating a slap-up meal in front of the newly skinny Mel as she “turns over a couple of lettuce leaves” is hilarious. Amy’s flaws should make her the worst candidate as a private investigator, but she is a clever young lady who proves to be surprisingly good at solving problems.
The historical information in this novel has been well researched, drawing upon the real art haul found in 2010 in the Munich apartment of Cornelius Gurlitt, son of an art dealer known to have dealings with the Nazis during the second world war. I enjoyed the pace of the story which was fast, yet also mindful of having an elderly man as one of the main characters. The network of deceit and corruption took the tale through Europe and back to the UK, showing the extent of the spread of the international underworld. Ms Edmunds painted a vivid picture of historic Europe, alongside the contemporary world of sleek lines and minimalism – for instance Amy’s flat and the offices in London.
I always say it, but I don’t wish to give away any spoilers….so I will conclude that this is a really enjoyable, pacy thriller with some fantastic main characters, humour, danger and cunning. Definitely worth a read – although I would personally read the first two books for a proper background! 4 stars!
By the way…I do now have #Crazy Amy 1 & 2!
Published 19th March 2018
About the Author – Rose Edmunds (from author website)
After a successful career advising entrepreneurial businesses, Rose jumped off the corporate hamster wheel and began writing thrillers inspired by her experiences. Her books have a strong ethical theme, and shine a light on the moral challenges presented by capitalism. Typically her protagonists are just as flawed as the villains, if not more so…
Rose’s debut thriller, Never Say Sorry, was about a Big Pharma conspiracy to suppress a cancer cure. Since then, she has been working on the Crazy Amy thriller series—an ambitious project which will follow Amy Robinson on her journey from senior finance executive to who knows where…
The first trilogy is now available on Amazon, with further books planned for 2019 and beyond.