We read Deron Hicks' first book in this series, The Van Gogh Deception, quite a while ago. I featured it in my very first Holiday Picks series in 2018, and we loved it, and loved Hicks' writing. We then went back and read his Shakespeare Mysteries series, also for MG. But somehow I lost track of the Lost Art Mysteries series, and now there's another book out (published last month!), The Crown Heist, which I still haven't gotten from my library to read quite yet, but I'm betting is just as good.
In any case, we loved this thriller / mystery! We even went to Boston, Massachusetts, for other reasons, but we did make it a point to visit the Museum of Fine Art and had fun counting out the 42 steps mentioned in the book! We even saw the humidity control devices mentioned in the book, specifically in the musical instrument room. I WISH I had taken a picture of them!!! Darn. But they are very real.
We were also intrigued by the Isabella Gardner Museum theft and visited the museum, taking pictures of the stolen artwork there.
Twelve year olds Art and Camille are back doing what they do best -- thwarting art theives' elaborate plans and saving priceless pieces of artwork from disappearing.
When the same woman shows up at the same place, days in a row, and makes the extact same number of steps from one point to another inside the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, Art knows, instinctively, a heist is in the planning.
But his father just started a new job as the person responsible for making sure nothing in the museum damages the portraits -- including the environment, the air, temperature, you name it. His father is busy installing new environmental sensors all over the museum, and Art can't say anything to embarass his dad. That might get him fired.
So Art is determined to gather actual hard proof before taking his suspicions to his father. At first, he tries to do this without his bf Camille, but she's pretty good at figuring out what's up and confronts him. If there's a mystery to unravel, she wants in.
I won't reveal what the two do to expose the plot, but I will say it's linked to a real art heist that took place at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on March 18, 1990, in which thieves dressed as police officers stole 13 pieces of art in 81 minutes. There really still are empty spots in place of the stolen artwork and the case has never been solved.
This book is also unique in that as the characters discuss each new piece of artwork there's a QR code next to it readers can scan and see the artwork and bit about it from various collections. It added to the fun of reading!
A super-fun read, moves at break-neck speed, and is sure to inspire. It's a perfect holiday gift!