Four Stars for “False Impression” by Jeffrey Archer
Mary Cushnie-Mansour‘s review
False Impression is the first book of Jeffrey Archer that I have read. Archer weaves a good story around real events. In False Impression, he takes us into the world of Art, murder, and greed. Anna Petrescu knows all about art. She is an honest, hard working young woman, who, unfortunately, is working for a not so honest man, Fenston. Fenston has a thirst for fine art, and will do anything to get his hands on the pieces he wants. Fenston owns a bank and he preys on the rich that have gotten themselves in a spot of financial trouble. In return for his financial assistance, they give up their properties, including their art works, as collateral. It never takes Fenston long to move in for the kill – literally! He has some extremely dangerous individuals, whom he pays quite well, working to make sure their boss gets whatever he desires.
Anna has no clue just how ruthless her boss is. She puts together a report for Lady Victoria, who is in possession of a large estate, and a Van Gogh that Fenston wants. However, Anna’s proposal to Lady Victoria does not sit well with her boss because it suggests that if Victoria sells the Van Gogh, she will be able to clear her debt to Fenston. Lady Victoria is murdered, and confirmation of the deed is sent to Fenston. The painting is on its way to its new home.Now, the story takes a real twist. The disaster of 9/11 happens just as Anna has been fired by Fenston because of the report/proposal she presented to Lady Victoria. As Anna is being led from the building (one of the Twin Towers) it is hit by the first plane. She barely makes it out alive. Once on the street, she makes her way to Tina’s apartment. Tina is Fenston’s personal assistant, but she has no love for the man. Tina suggests that Anna remain “dead” until she can get to Victoria and help her out of her financial problems. Neither girl, at the time, know of the murder. Also, because of the hit on the Towers, all planes are re-routed back to where they came from – including the one carrying the Van Gogh painting.
With Tina’s help, Anna makes her way to England, to Lady Victoria, where she learns the awful truth about what has happened. However, Lady Victoria had a twin sister, Arabella, who is now in charge of the estate, and is not as naive as her sister was. When she realizes that Anna is on the level, and then listens to the plan Anna has to usurp Fenston’s deception, she falls in line. Arabella will do anything to bring her sister’s killer to justice.
Added to the mix is an FBI agent that has been trying to bring Fenston down for a long time. He puts a tail on Anna, thinking she might be involved. However, as time reveals, he realizes that Anna, too, is in danger from Fenston.
I am going to stop here, not wanting to give away any more. “False Impression” picks up speed as it goes along. It is well worth turning the pages and missing a few TV shows. I am so glad I hunkered up with Jeffrey Archer and kept turning his pages.