The Duke of Cleveland by Les Roberts

 

Mystery

The Duke of Cleveland (A Milan Jacovich Mystery) The Duke of ClevelandLes Roberts; St. Martin’s Minotaur 2002WorldCatMilan Jacovich is approached by April Delavan to find a missing person. April is young, lives with artists, and was living with Jeff Feldman, the person now missing. She wants Jacovich to find Feldman not because she is worried about him, but rather because he owes her $18,000. She could care less about Feldman. She wants her money back.

Jacovich starts looking for Feldman. He becomes involved in Cleveland’s itinerant artist community, especially the potters. Then he learns about pottery, specifically porcelain, collectors. To his chagrin, one of the collectors involved is Victor Gaimari, the unofficial head of the Cleveland underground mob. Another is April’s father, a real estate agent and builder of upscale homes in the Northeast Ohio area. Before he puts all the pieces together to find Feldman, Jacovich spends time in New York City, learns about fine porcelain, valuable signatures, and has to prove that an artist’s death was murder, not an accident. And of course, he needs to finish all this before the Cleveland Indians’ home opener baseball game the following Monday…

This book, like all of Roberts’ Jacovich series, transports me back to Northeast Ohio. He knows the city and the area. He is able to make Cleveland as much as a character in the novel as Jacovich, Marko Meglich, Ed Stahl, or the other regulars in the series. This one also passes on some of the excitement of Indians baseball in Cleveland, especially after the team started playing up to pennant standards in the 1990’s.

The plot is convoluted, like so many of Roberts’ novels. Just when the reader knows where the story is going, a new twist comes up. This book is not as strong as some of the others in the series. The artistic background does not fit the Jacovich character, and does not meld overly well. The characters that are necessary to the plot either do not have enough play when they should; the extraneous characters have more than they need. I did like the final joke at the end with Victor Gaimari. He and Jacovich make an intriguing set of adversaries.

More books by Les Roberts
Milan Jacovich series
at Stop! You’re Killing Me!

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