a place of safety
Something nefarious is going on in the small private museum that holds the Gregory collection of European art. Trish Maguire is asked to find out more. Her investigations cover not only the origins of the collection and its more or less miraculous rescue from the ravages of the First World War but also current – and violent – organised crime in London.
The ideas behind this novel are all to do with trust, truth and fakery. How can you judge whether a painting is an Old Master or a clever reproduction? Even the experts disagree. There are two famous versions of Leonardo da Vinci's 'La Belle Ferronière', for example, and there have been arguments and court cases for decades over which is the original and which the copy.
Much the same is true of people. Can you rely your own instincts when deciding whether you can trust someone else? Deception is involved in most crime, and it is as destructive psychologically as violence is physically.
'Cooper uses the device of jumping from the present-day mystery to an unfolding story of love in wartorn France in an inspiringly original way: the story is not merely used to explain current problems but to create an atmospheric connection between past and present which is finally and skilfully revealed in two scenes set in the same London house seventy years apart. It is this ability to evoke changing moods which Natasha Cooper brings to her unwinding plot and to her descriptions of London life which puts A Place of Safety ahead of most current detective fiction.'
Times Literary Supplement
'Cooper is one of the most reliable practitioners of the genre at work today, and this is splendid stuff.'
'Cooper creates a dark and savage story with a deviously clever plot, convincing and complex characters, and a shocking climax.
© Natasha Cooper 2007