Title: A Clean Canvas (Lena Szarka Mysteries #2)
Author: Elizabeth Mundy
Published on: 3rd January 2019
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers
Lena works as a cleaner at the art gallery. Her friend and cousin, Sarika, helps her out. Study in Purple, one of the most sought pieces of art by a famous painter Trudy is out for sale at the art gallery. After a night filled with canapes and champagne, Sarika and Lena are tired of serving the guests. The owner asks Lena to lock up and set the burglar alarm before she leaves. As the two ladies walk towards the bus stop, Sarika says she’s left her cellphone at the gallery. Lena gives her the key and asks her to lock up after her.
The next day, Lena receives a phone call from her owner saying that the painting is missing and she is needed at the police station immediately. Lena decides to pick up Sarika but finds her fast asleep in her flat. She asks Sarika to come quickly, picks up the key and leaves. But Sarika never turns up a the police station. Two days later, an arrest warrant is issued against Sarika.
Lena knows that Sarika is innocent and she decides to clear her cousin’s name and get back the painting.
A Clean Canvas by Elizabeth Mundy was overall a good read. I liked the way the story proceeded. Initially, I was like, why on earth did Lena give her cousin the key. Being her cousin and all, maybe she did trust her, but I knew something would go wrong. Sarika was behaving a bit odd from the time her character’s introduced in the story. As the story proceeds, Sarika manages to run away from Lena every single time. Now, it does make her look guilty, doesn’t it? Then why does Lena still trust her? It all made sense in the end, though.
The mystery behind the injured Fish-and-chip shop owner, Malcom’s beating by two men in the alley (on the day of the theft) and Gertrude’s secret – Lena gets to solve all these mysteries too, along with the main mystery of the story, which is, the stolen painting.
I liked the way Lena is portrayed in the story – a hard-working, loving and caring woman. Her relationship with a cop, Cartwright, is also well described in the story. In fact, they form a pretty good detective pair – reminds you a tad of Tommy-Tuppence. There are one or two red herrings in the story which makes you doubt Lena’s belief that her cousin’s innocent.
Lena’s deductive skills were far better than Cartwright and DI Blake’s. Ironic that as they are cops while Lena is just a cleaner. The only thing I did not like much about the story was the references made to the first book in the series, especially in the first few chapters. Cartwright is mentioned a lot in the first few chapters but he makes an appearance later on. Then there is Lazlo. Lena talks to her mother about Lazlo and if he’s doing well. I thought Lazlo was either Lena’s younger brother or son. In the end, it is revealed that Lazlo is Lena’s dead friend’s son – In the first book in this series, Lena solved the case of her friend’s murder.
The suspense was really good. The missing painting, fraud, exes and unpaid debts – a brilliant combination this. What I liked the most was Lena’s detective skills. This book is more of a light read and the suspense is well maintained till the end. Lena tracks the painting all right but the story doesn’t end there. There is more to this mystery than it meets the eye.
There’s a giveaway for this tour. Giveaway goodies include Windsor and Newton pocket-sized water color set and a signed copy of A Clean Canvas. (UK only)
Giveaway Link is here.
Thank you, Rachel, from Rachel’s Random Resources for giving me an opportunity to be a part of this blog tour.