Book review and giveaway: The Collector – I love France #158

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The Collector


The Collector

by Anne-Laure Thiéblemont

translated by Sophie Weiner


Release date: August 11, 2015
at Le French Book

211  pages

ISBN: 978-1939474445

Website | Goodreads
 Source: Received from the publisher

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In full compliance with FTC Guidelines,
I received this ebook for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I was in no way compensated for this post as a reviewer, and the thoughts are my own.

This book counts for the
following Reading Challenges

  French Bingo 2015 logo 2015 ebook

   my-kind-of-mystery-2015 2015 Translation 

    New-Release-Challenge New Authors 2015


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As far as mysteries are concerned, there’s a subcategory I tend to enjoy more and more, that’s art heist. I reviewed some time ago a wonderful one about the theft of the Mona Lisa. This time, it’s about pre-Columbian art. What’s really neat about The Collector is that the author is herself a gemologist and a journalist specializing in art and gem trafficking. In other words, she knows what she’s talking about.

The opening scene is quite suspenseful, with an attack and something that looks like a crime, plus a theft of a sculpture! Great to peak your interest.
Then we shift to Marion. She works for SearchArt, a firm specializing in stolen art. Her own domain of expertise is 18th century furniture, jewelry, and silverware. So she’s rather surprised when her boss asks her to work on the file of a theft related to pre-Columbian art.
It’s even more weird because of Marion’s family situation: she was just told she has inherited her dad’s unique collection of pre-Columbian art. A dad she didn’t really know because he had abandoned his family decades before. He just died mysteriously in Peru.
This could be a huge inheritance, but there’s a major condition to it: to effectively become the heir of the collection, Marion has to locate and find three special sculptures. Why these three sculptures? What makes them so special? And why on earth didn’t her dad tell her who owns these now, when apparently he may have been the one to sell them himself?
To investigate what’s going on and where these sculptures are, Marion meets her dad’s personal assistant and all kinds of famous people. She gets more familiar with the world of art, antique dealers, and auctions, where she discovers many shady characters. Apart from her personal friend Chris and his mom Beatrice, a gemologist, she cannot know to the end who’s on her side or not, who are the good or the bad guys. There’s a lot at stake, big money, and some guys won’t hesitate to steal and even to kill.

I really liked how the suspense built in this mystery. Things seem quite obvious at first until you realize it’s much more complex, and you are just as confused as Marion.
I liked the weird characters, and the main point of the plot came as an unexpected twist. Quite smart turn of events I certainly was not foreseeing.
I know nothing about gems and precious stones, and there was very interesting information about them and this specific world.
This is the first book in a new series being translated from the French. I’m looking forward to new adventures for art investigator Marion Spicer.

VERDICT: Complex and suspenseful art heist on pre-Columbian art with a smart and unexpected twist. Highly recommended for lovers of art, gems, and mystery.


Some people collect art, others collect trouble. Marion Spicer spends her days examining auction catalogues and searching for stolen works of art. She is a top-notch investigator when it comes to eighteenth-century art. But for her it’s just a job and her life is well ordered. All this changes when she inherits a huge and very prestigious collection of pre-Columbian art from a father she never knew. There are conditions attached: she must first find three priceless statues. That is when her troubles begin. Her father’s death sparked much greed, and Marion finds herself facing the merciless microcosm of Paris art auctions and galleries, with its sharks, schemes, fences, traps, scams, and attacks. Her quest draws her into a world where people will kill for a love of beauty. (provided by the publisher)


Collector Anne Laure Thieblemont ©RobertTerzian

An art reporter and trained gem specialist,
Anne-Laure Thiéblemont
is known for her investigations into stolen art
and gem trafficking.
She currently works as a magazine editor,
and splits her time between Paris and Marseille.


Sophie Weiner is a freelance translator and book publishing assistant from Baltimore, Maryland. After earning degrees in French from Bucknell University and New York University, Sophie went on to complete a master’s in literary translation from the Sorbonne, where she focused her thesis on translating wordplay in works by Oulipo authors. She has translated and written for web-based companies dedicated to art, cinema, and fashion as well as for nonprofit organizations. Growing up with BabarMadeline, and The Little Prince, Sophie was bitten by the Francophile bug at an early age, and is fortunate enough to have lived in Paris, Lille, and the Loire Valley.
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Would you have another title to recommend
about art heist?


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19 thoughts on “Book review and giveaway: The Collector – I love France #158

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