The novel starts out like a good old fashioned Gothic story featuring one of the “Black” paintings by Goya. I’m not sure what a “black” painting is but the one referenced in this book has disappeared and is also cursed bringing madness or death to the owner. The subject of the painting is Goya himself: a self portrait. The ownership was held by the Morse family until it disappeared several years ago with no one knowing who took it.
There are four cousins in the Morse family who are not very close. They are summoned by their grandfather to his mansion and the expectation is that he wants to somehow reunite the family and make amends for years of being apart.
All attend and suspect that the mystery of the missing Goya will be solved. They meet at the mansion and find that their grandfather has suddenly passed away. After this segment all pretenses of a good Gothic story disappear and it becomes a murder mystery. Attempts to find the missing Goya which may be worth millions cause both private detectives and lawyers to be hired by the four cousins. One neat little love affair starts during the search.
The story is interesting enough to warrant reading , but I found it was a bit over wordy and does cause the reader to reach points that lose him or her. I did want to find out what happened to the Goya portrait and who did what to whom and I finished it.
1/18 Paul Lane
THE BLACK PAINTING by Neil Olson. Hanover Square (January 9, 2018). ISBN 978-1335953810. 320p.