The Guggenheim Mystery is the follow up story to Siobhan Dowd’s 2007 The London Eye Mystery. Dowd sadly died of cancer at the end of 2007. She had been contracted to write two Ted Spark mysteries, but other than selecting the title of book two, she died before planning any of it.
The Siobhan Dowd Trust (established by Siobhan herself in her dying days) set out to find someone to finish her stories. Patrick Ness took over the half conceived A Monster Calls while Robin Stevens was given a title!
In her Author’s Note at the end of the book, Stevens says,
I realised why Siobhan had chosen it (the Guggenheim) as the setting of Ted’s second adventure. If Ted is a different detective, the Guggenheim, with its curving ramp, its rotunda shape and its insistence on viewing art from all angles at once, is a different sort of museum. Ted would be perfectly at home there – and if anything were to happen to one of the paintings, he would be the perfect person to solve the mystery.
It turns out that Stevens, like Ted’s cousin, Salim, also grew up with a mother who worked in a museum. In fact, her mother was working at the Ashmolean in 2000 when thieves stole a Cezanne using smoke bombs. Steven’s The Guggenheim Mystery is the perfect example of art imitating life!
The mystery was relatively easy for an adult reader to work out, but of course, I’m not the target audience. The three main characters are likeable and believable. The use of logical reasoning and deduction techniques appealed to my practical brain. There was a quest-type element to the detective work as each person who was questioned and eliminated, then gave them clues or advice on who to proceed to next.
Dowd created a love letter to London in The London Eye Mystery, in The Guggenheim Mystery Stevens has created her own love letter to New York.
Highly recommended for 10+ readers who love detective-type stories and diverse characters.