The Chippendale Factor by John Malcolm
Justin Harrington had led a strange life. He was originally called Baz Stevens but that didn't really fit with the life that he wanted. He became an antiques dealer, publisher and latterly the controversial presenter of the television programme about antiques How Old Is It? He'd always had an eye to the main chance and was no stranger to sharp practice, so it came as a shock to fellow antiques dealer and old school friend, Bill Franklin, when he heard that Harrington had been found dead in his car in suspicious circumstances but his immediate reaction was that Harrington's shady past had finally caught up with him.
|The Chippendale Factor by John Malcolm|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: Well-plotted and with colourful characters, this story about the rogues of the antiques trade takes a little getting into but repays the effort.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: February 2008|
|Publisher: Allison & Busby|
Perhaps unwisely, he makes his own enquiries into the death. It's only when another antiques dealer and mutual friend is shot dead by what appear to be hired assassins that Franklin realises that he has bitten off more than he can chew – and made himself the prime suspect into the bargain.
I did wonder if I was going to like this book to begin with. It took me quite a while to get the cast of characters straight in my mind and I also had to assimilate quite a lot of information about the antiques trade. The author has written a number of reference books about antique furniture (under the name of John Andrews) and you don't get a glossed-over version of how the business works. This is a writer who knows what he's talking about and it really is worth making the effort. At the end you'll know a lot more about Thomas Chippendale, Georgian furniture and the Arts and Crafts movement. You'll also know that there are a lot of 'experts' who are anything but and a lot who can be bought quite easily.
After my initial confusion with the characters I found that they blossomed. The late (and not always lamented) Justin Harrington came across as a larger-than-life rogue and for me he was the star of the book, with some of his asides making me splutter at their audacity. Franklin narrates the story but manages not to dominate it – he's simply a neat way of pulling the whole story together and his private life certainly adds some colour.
The plot is ingenious and it kept me guessing right up to the end. My views on who had done what – or not – seesawed back and forth but I still didn't guess what had really happened to Justin Harrington.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
If you enjoy the 'amateur sleuth' genre then we think that you will also enjoy Last Post by Robert Barnard.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Chippendale Factor by John Malcolm at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Chippendale Factor by John Malcolm at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.