The Apothecary’s House by Adrian Mathews

About the book

When an old woman storms into the Rijksmuseum demanding the return of her painting, archivist Ruth Braams cannot quell her curiosity. Ruth delves into the history of the piece of looted Nazi art and discovers an enigmatic picture with a disturbing wartime provenance. It also appears that the elderly Lydia is not the only claimant and, against strict bureau regulations, Ruth endeavours to help strengthen her case.
Days later, Ruth begins to receive sinister anonymous threats, warning her to stay away from Lydia and the painting. As the threats escalate, Ruth realizes that there must be far more to the painting’s popularity, and she enters a series of increasingly lethal adventures as she investigates its secret symbolism. . . .
A brilliant evocation of Amsterdam that combines fascinating historical detail with a cast of sharply realised characters—a fast-paced, finely crafted, riveting mystery.

Reviewed by Cowdray Reading Group:

Mixed reviews – most people were interested at the beginning of the book – thought the idea of picture being photographic discovery, and link with Hitler was promising. But the length of the book; excessive description and prose was off-putting. Some people though the archaic language was funny. One comment – book started as it ended – nobody gained.

Star rating: **

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3 thoughts on “The Apothecary’s House by Adrian Mathews”

  1. Review by King’s Somborne Reading Group:
    Too long, convoluted and too many characters going nowhere. Atmospheric description of Amsterdam but on the whole unsatisfying and irritating.
    Star rating: **

  2. Review by Shipton Bellinger WI Reading Group:
    Enjoyed by most of the group. Good descriptions of modern Amsterdam, the repatriation of Nazi war loot and historic Holland. Plenty to discuss. We felt that the middle portion of the book needed some editing but the suspense and the story carried you through.
    Rating: 3 Stars

  3. Review by Havers Reading Group
    Too many plots – badly constructed, muddled and confusing. Some parts were interesting but lost in the confusion. Good description of Amsterdam.
    No character particularly liked.
    Star rating: **

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