First Sentence: The Maestro insisted that it wasn't his fault.
"The Countess Borromeo," a four-million-dollar Strativarius, was stolen from Maestro Paul Duclos after playing a concert in his small hometown on Lake Superior. The insurance company refuses to pay for its return unless they can arrest and convict the thief. Duclos is willing to pay $250,000, no strings attached, for the violin's return and asks MacKenzie to help. Not only is he up against the police, FBI, insurance company's rep, and his own lawyer's advice, but others are after the violin too. Some are even willing to kill for it.
Housewright is one of those wonderful authors who takes you right into the story-no prologue, no extraneous pages of description-and captures your interest immediately. In this case, we are taken into the world of classical music with personalities singular to it. As is often true of those who love the tool of their art, here we are introduced to "The Countess" and the relationship between her and her artist while learning about the tradition for-"A Stradivarious nearly always goes by the name of the owner."-and the plot becomes more intriguing with each page.
Housewright creates very real characters. You can easily visualize them and their surroundings. It's entertaining having both MacKenzie's conversations with others, and his internal monologue-"Help you what? Be specific." "Take the money to Bayfield, find out who stole the Strad, and buy it back." Hell no, my inner voice shouted. "Let me think about it," I said aloud."
For those who like suspense and action, Housewright really knows how to turn the dial up. At the same time, he achieves the perfect balance of drama, excitement and wry humor-"Special Agenct in Charge Reid Beatty was not happy. I knew because he kept telling everyone, "I am not happy, I am not happy, I am not goddamn happy.""
"Stealing the Countess" is a very good read with excellent twists, did-not-see-that-coming moments, and a very good ending.
STEALING THE COUNTESS (Unl. Invest-Rushmore MacKenzie-Minnesota-Contemp) - VG+
Housewright, David - 12th in series
Minotaur Books - May 31, 2016