A good detective story taking place in a beautiful part of Italy is a real treat for people who enjoy reading crime mysteries and also happen to love Italy. Use this website to find out more about the locations, the lifestyle and the food and the wine experienced by the characters created by your favourite authors.


The Raphael Affair

A crime mystery set in Rome served up with lashings of Italian culture

The Raphael Affair is the first of a series featuring Jonathan Argyll
The Raphael Affair is the first of
a series featuring Jonathan Argyll
This first novel of an Italian art history mystery series will delight many people who enjoy crime fiction with Italy as the backdrop.

Written by Iain Pears, an English art historian, novelist and journalist, The Raphael Affair introduces British art dealer Jonathan Argyll, who becomes a series character. He is brought to the attention of an Art Theft officer working for the Italian police, Flavia di Stefano, when he is caught breaking into a church in Rome.

A graduate student on holiday in Italy, Argyll had been arrested for vagrancy when he was found apparently trying to sleep in the church of Santa Barbara in the Campo dei Fiori.

When Flavia interviews him in English, she discovers that Argyll had gone to the church to examine a painting by Raphael that was hanging above the altar. He insists on making a full statement because he is convinced an enormous fraud has taken place.

He claims that the church contains a lost classic, hidden under another painting. When the picture vanishes, only to turn up in the hands of a British art dealer who claims it is a newly-discovered work by Raphael, his story gains some credibility.

Argyll and Flavia di Stefano join forces to find out whether the painting is a lost Raphael or not, but find themselves in danger when they come too close to discovering the truth.

Iain Pears has worked in Italy as a journalist
Iain Pears has worked in
Italy as a journalist
The Raphael Affair, which was first published in 1990, is a well-plotted story by Pears with sympathetic characters and its fair share of politics, corruption, suspense and sudden death. The outcome is surprising and sets up Argyll nicely to stay in Italy, see more of Flavia and appear in another novel.

Author Iain Pears was born in Coventry and educated at Oxford. He became a reporter for the BBC and then a correspondent for Reuters based in Italy, France and the US.

Following The Raphael Affair, Pears has published another six art mystery novels featuring art historian Jonathan Argyll. They are: The Titian Committee, The Bernini Bust, The Last Judgment, Giotto’s Hand, Death and Restoration and The Immaculate Deception.

I don’t know why it has taken me so long to read The Raphael Affair, but now I can’t wait to get started on The Titian Committee!  

The Raphael Affair is available from or


No comments:

Post a Comment