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Reviewed by Sharon Fawley for Readers' Favorite
"Treasure of Saint-Lazare", by John Pearce, is a mystery about events far distant in time and space that profoundly affect the peaceful life of a wealthy American businessman living in Paris. Despite outward appearances, Eddie Grant lives with his own personal tragedies. He lost his wife and son to an unsolved murder and his father was killed in a car accident. His life is disrupted when an elderly man is killed in a hit-and-run accident in Sarasota, Florida. Among the man’s belongings, his daughter finds a letter addressed to Eddie’s father. Jen Wetzmuller has her reasons for delivering her father’s mysterious letter to Eddie in person. She and Eddie had a brief romantic relationship 20 years earlier, but Jen also has her own secrets. The letter sends Eddie and his friends off on a search for a lost art treasure stolen by the Nazis near the end of World War II. Along the way, Eddie solves the murders of his wife and son and, as it turns out, the murder of his father.
John Pearce has based his novel on an intriguing historical fact. The painting, Portrait of a Young Man, by Raphael was indeed lost near the end of World War II and has been the object of much speculation since. Pearce also weaves richly textured descriptions of life in Paris through an intricate plot with believable, well-drawn characters. Overall, this is a satisfying mystery, a surprising love story, and an up close look into the dark days of Europe as WWII drew to a close.