Since becoming an unlikely millionaire and quitting the St. Paul Police Department, Rushmore McKenzie has been working as an unlicensed private investigator, basically doing favors for friends and people in need. But even for him, this latest job is unusual. He's been asked to find a stolen Stradivarius, known as the Countess Borromeo, that only the violinist seems to want him to find.
Stolen from a locked room in a B&B in the violinist's former hometown of Bayfield, Wisconsin, the violin is valued at $4 million and is virtually irreplaceable. But the foundation that owns it and their insurance company refuses to pay the thief (or thieves) for its safe return. However, Paul Duclos, the violinist who has played it for the past twelve years, is desperate to get it back and offers to pay the thief out of his own pocket.
Though it's not his usual sort of case, McKenzie is intrigued and decides to help, which means going against the local police, the insurance company, the FBI's Art Crime division, and his own lawyer's advice. And, as he quickly learns, there's a lot more going on than the mere theft of a priceless instrument.
Praise for STEALING THE COUNTESS:
"A Stradivarius goes missing and all hell breaks loose in the thirteenth entry in Edgar-winning Housewright's very strong Rushmore McKenzie series... Though the novels are loosely based in Minneapolis/St. Paul, the series makes great use of the variegated landscapes-filled with opportunities for crime and escape-of Minnesota and Wisconsin... Greatly enhancing the story are the fascinating details Housewright provides on the history and design of these priceless instruments." -Booklist
, starred review
"The brazen theft of a Stradivarius violin known as the Countess Borromeo, valued at $4 million, provides Rushmore McKenzie with some ethical challenges in Housewright's entertaining 13th mystery featuring the unlicensed St. Paul, Minn., PI (after 2015's Unidentified Woman #15
)... The charming lead enhances the crime puzzle, which is both complex and logical." -Publishers Weekly