Cultural Cocktail Hour

Book Review: Dark Athena by Arthur Houghton III

Dark Athena by Arthur Houghton was a riveting read. It’s the perfect juxtaposition between a spy novel and an art mystery (and having read the author’s background on the book jacket, that comes as no surprise). Houghton served in the U.S Department of State as well as Curator-In-Charge of the Department of Antiquities at the Getty. I enjoyed the insider’s take on the art world and the vivid details about art crimes. For instance, at one point in the novel, a museum insider gives the protagonist information about the potential corrupting influence on laboratories and on those working with museum files. It was mind-blowing to contemplate how many real life art mysteries or cases of art fraud can be traced to an “inside job.”

In the author’s memoir, Standing Still Is Not an Option, Houghton discusses tax fraud by the Getty’s Jiri Friel, who eventually fled the country.

The memoir proves that truth is stranger than fiction, indeed!

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