It is set about three years after Poppy's adventures in The Cairo Brief. Poppy is on annual leave, back home in the Newcastle area for her father's 60th birthday. While there she gets involved in famous artist Agnes Robson's art exhibition. But it is far from straightforward. Agnes has a hidden past and local rumour has it that she murdered her art teacher as a youngster and then fled to Paris. Agnes' past has come back to haunt her and before Poppy knows where she is, she is up to her eyes in Agnes' murder investigation.
I very much enjoyed this gentle whodunnit which reminded me of Agatha Christie's writing. The back story is intriguing and the plot engaging. It kept me turning the pages. It was fun to 'meet' the delightful characters of Poppy's friends and colleagues again: Rollo and Yasmin, Delilah, Aunt Dot and Grace, among others.
The ending was reminiscent of Hercule Poirot with the murderer being induced to confess to a select group how and why the murder had been committed. For me, that part was a little weak with unexplained threads but it didn't spoil the book for me.
I have given The Art Fiasco 4* and hope Poppy goes on to have more adventures. I do enjoy Fiona Veitch Smith's books.
Lion Hudson sent me a paperback copy of the book for the purposes of writing an unbiased review.