Jaya Jones, historian and part-time treasure hunter, gets an e-mail from her old college professor asking for help in finding lost artworks of Italian artist Lazaro Allegri, who is believed to have worked with Michelangelo. After giving Jaya important manuscripts, with clues to where the art is hidden, the professor ends up dead. Jaya decides to follow the clues to Italy, with her brother and his girlfriend for company,and in particular to The Park of Monsters. Whilst there they get sidelined by a local ghost story, and a ghost who seems to be trying to frighten Jaya away. She is not the only one looking for the lost artwork, and Jaya has to find out who she can trust, and who is trying to sabotage her work.
I have to admit that these kind of mystery novels are a guilty pleasure of mine. I love the way they incorporate history, thrills and historical artefacts. My favourite are the type that include mysterious lost artwork; I have a degree in Art History and although these are fictional stories I love the idea of missing art being found.
As a mystery, this book has everything; ghosts, danger, Italian art, aristocrats, historical detail, missing boyfriends and a feisty protagonist. The historical detail is well researched and underpins the plot with facts about Italian art and ideas of cross cultural relations between Italian Renaissance Art and Indian art.
The characters are all very believable and likeable and come from different backgrounds that underpin their character traits and give them different insights into the plot. I found the plot enjoyable and the characters likeable, and I have to admit I enjoyed this more than I thought I would, some books in this genre I find have very little plot or historical detail. I should point out that this is the fourth in Gigi Pandian’s Jaya Jones series but it was easy to read as a stand alone novel. The other three are: