Toulouse 4 Death by Gregory Randall is the third in the series of mysteries featuring resilient Sharon O’Mara, insurance investigator and ex-military police officer. As usual she gets help along the way from friend and detective Kevin Bryan. In this exciting, historically based story, the action centres on valuable artwork by the Nazis from their Jewish owners shortly before the Second World War. Three American soldiers help themselves to a few pictures, including a stunning piece by Toulouse-Lautrec, and stash them away in a secret hiding place. One of them, Alain Dumont, believing both his comrades to be dead, returns to France after the war and collects the treasures. Now, approaching death, he wants to return the paintings to their rightful owners and asks Sharon to accomplish this for him. However, there are some powerful people who don’t want that to happen.

This is a fast-paced, contemporary thriller with an authentic, well researched plot that is full of twists and turns, yet remains plausible. There’s an interesting cast of characters, all rounded and unique. Sharon is a driving force throughout the book and a catalyst for the exhilarating action. The author is a great storyteller and has a gift with language. For example, when Dumont refers to his memory loss, he says his thoughts “run away like small children and hide”. Beautiful. There are a few silly typos that should have been picked up at the editing stage, but generally this is a very polished book.

The author has a website at http://writing4death.blogspot.com/.

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