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Allan lives in Ontario, Canada but was born and grew up in Merseyside, England.He studied in North Wales (B.Sc.) and East Anglia (Ph.D.). By profession a chemist, he is now retired but he worked for many years later in his career as a consultant on international chemical regulation, a role in which he traveled extensively. He began creative writing as retirement approached.
He is currently writing a series of art-crime mystery novels featuring Catrin Sayer, a central character who is Welsh, an artist and a policewoman with the Metropolitan Police Service in London. The first novel, The Chinese Sailor, covers her transition from uniform work into the role of a detective with an art crime unit and is set largely in North Wales. The second novel, The Scottish Colourist, is partially set in Glasgow. Other novels in the same series, deal with the development of the life, career and cases of Catrin Sayer and are set in other locations, many of which the author has lived in or visited over the years.
on June 09, 2016 :
This latest book in the Catrin Sayers art theft detective series builds very much on the previous ones. Like the others, it’s engaging, intelligent, and allows the reader to follow Catrin across several countries to follow leads, trade information, and broker deals.
Because I never studied art formally, I like how Allan Jones presents background information about paintings and artists in a way that doesn’t interrupt the flow of the story. In the case of The Carnforth Double, a thread interwoven with the main narrative tells the story of Rosalind Heaton, the portrait subject of English engraver and painter, Hamlet Winstanley. We gradually learn about Heaton, her time period, and the artist’s techniques as the book goes along. By the time Catrin and her colleagues discuss what a forgery of it must involve, there is no need for an unnatural dialog among the experts to discuss it on a level basic enough for the general reader to understand. We know enough ourselves by that time that we can listen in and follow along.
I also like the way that Jones develops his characters and their relationships. There’s a quiet building of personal and professional ties across the series that is realistically paced. I’ve never had much patience with romance as the main focus of a book, so I appreciate the way that the growing mutual interest with Catrin’s colleague in another city gradually emerged without overshadowing the other aspects of her life and work.
I take a little bit of delight in being one of the first to discover this series, though perhaps I'm just the first to write reviews. But I do hope that others join me, especially if they like art, a little bit of imagined history, and stories about a plucky Welsh policewoman who paints ceramics on the side.
(reviewed 6 months after purchase)