Judith Rashleigh works as an assistant in a prestigious London auction house, but her dreams of breaking into the art world have been gradually dulled by the blunt forces of snobbery and corruption. To make ends meet she moonlights as a hostess in one of the West End’s less salubrious bars – although her work there pales against her activities on nights off.
When Judith stumbles across a conspiracy at her auction house, she is fired before she can expose the fraud. In desperation, she accepts an offer from one of the bar’s clients to accompany him to the French Riviera. But when an ill-advised attempt to slip him sedatives has momentous consequences, Judith finds herself fleeing for her life.
Now alone and in danger, all Judith has to rely on is her consummate ability to fake it amongst the rich and famous – and the inside track on the hugely lucrative art fraud that triggered her dismissal.
Worldbuilding: I enjoyed the journey through Europe that Maestra took me on, via the world of the rich and those aspiring to be part of it.
Characters: Judith was a character with a lot of potential. A sociopath, a pretty woman, a lover of kinky sex, a killer. There was a lot of potential, but somehow it didn’t click all the way for me. I’m not sure what about her, but something kept me from enjoying her. I love Dexter, I enjoy reading about antiheroes, and love villains of stories often, so it’s not that I wasn’t the right person to enjoy this kind of character. It’s just that from a point on, she didn’t convince me.
Plot: The story in itself was a little bit unconvincing for me, particularly in the second half of the book. The moment you involve police, I feel you need to keep details (behavior, process, etc) realistic or the story falls apart. I didn’t feel things made sense from an investigative pov, right until the end there. I was still curious to see where things would go, but it wasn’t exciting anymore.
Writing: First person, past tense narrative, Judith’s POV.
Curb Appeal: Interesting cover, hooking blurb – impulsive buy potential for my thriller moods.
Maestra was an interesting experiment, but I felt it could have gone much better for me personally as a reading experience if the second part of the novel would have presented events that would’ve been easier to believe, particularly those involving police. I know procedures are different in every country, but I also know you find common traits in policemen in all countries. Because the nature of the job is the same. To a mystery/procedurals fan like me, these things stand out enough to ruin the fun of an otherwise fun idea. It also contains some explicit scenes, though I wouldn’t call them erotic, because they didn’t seem to me to want to come off that way.
So I recommend Maestra to fans of sociopaths MCs, but not to fans of mystery/procedurals, as some details will most likely ruin your enjoyment of the novel.