Black Art.

Author:Siano, Maria
Position:Book review

V.T. Davy (author); BLACK ART; Liberation Publishing (Fiction: Thriller) 14.99 ISBN: 9780957408807

Byline: Maria Siano

British actress Helen Valentine wants to know where she came from. Specifically, she wants to know about her grandmother, who disappeared in the early 1940s.

Author V. T. Davy is an amateur historian, and he gives Arty Shaw, his hero in Black Art, the same interest. In this noir-style mystery, genealogist Shaw is working on the latest episode of the television showRoots, tracing celebrities' ancestry. His task is to investigate the unexplained disappearance decades earlier of Helen's half-German, half-Jewish grandmother, Kay Marett. Set in the present day but focusing on events from the 1940s, Davy packs the novel with adventure -- everything from espionage to art forgery to blackmail -- and many twists and turns, as Arty uncovers events involving the German occupation of the Channel Islands during World War II. At first Arty believes Kay was deported, but he soon discovers the circumstances were much more complicated.

Davy engages readers, providing a unique take on the noir genre by centering the mystery around Helen's heritage rather than a murder. The characters are also original: Arty, the investigator, is not a private detective but a genealogist, and is also transgendered, something that's revealed through his interactions with Helen. The island where the story is set is unusual, too. Located off the coast of France, the British isle had been inhabited by the Germans in the 1940s; a tax...

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