The Geneva Deception FAQ
Where did you get the inspiration for The Geneva Deception?
A lawyer friend of mine (who shall remain nameless) told me about this incredible case she was working on involving grave robbing, antiquities smuggling, the Mafia, secret warehouses, vast sums of money and potentially implicating some of the world’s most famous museums. Sometimes life really is stranger than fiction…
Why The Geneva Deception?
Good question. The working title was The Delian League, but when my publishers said that they were worried people might think it was a cookbook (Delian = Delia Smith, apparently) I had to go back to the drawing board. In the end I submitted 93 (!) individual titles and this was the one, after much debate, that came out on top. As you’ll see if you read the book, Geneva plays a critical role in the story, and I rather liked the implicit subversion of the better known “Geneva Convention” and the way that this in a way mirrored the duplicity and inconsistency that characterises the antiquities world.
Are the historical events depicted in the novel true?
The theft of the Caravaggio Nativity happened exactly as it is described and the details about the Phidias Apollo, the Getty Kouros, safe breaking, tomb robbing and smuggling techniques are also accurate. And the central premise of there being a network of outwardly reputable international dealers selling some of the world’s greatest museums illegally excavated antiquities through a network of shell companies is based on the ongoing “Medici” trial and the stunning hoard discovered in one of his warehouses in 1995. [click here for more]
Have you been to all the places mentioned in the book?
So that’s Rome, Washington DC, Las Vegas, Verbier, Geneva, Monte Carlo and Panama. Well I’m happy to say yes to all, expect Panama, which seemed a long way to go, for a three page chapter! I particularly enjoyed my trip to Monaco (via helicopter transfer from Nice) to check out the toilets in the Casino (you’ll know the scene when you get to it.) Spend a penny? If only.
Do all the art works referred to in The Gilded Seal really exist?
I hope so, or a lot of museums are going to have to answer a lot of questions! Except for the Caravaggio Nativity, of course. It’s been missing since 1969 and despite rumours, no-one knows if it’s still in one piece or not.
What characters from the previous books re-appear in The Geneva Deception?
Tom, Archie and Dominique, obviously. Jennifer Browne, who makes a brief, but explosive appearance. Ex US Army Ranger, turned hitman Kyle Foster, previously seen in both The Double Eagle and The Black Sun. And FBI Director Jack Green, who throws his considerable girth into the picture once more. Finally there is Georges d’Hammon – the eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed a character with some broad variant of this name turns up in all my books, usually only to encounter a grisly end or other humiliation relatively early on. That’s what happens if you don’t stay on my good side!