• The Last Judgement

  • An Art History Mystery
  • By: Iain Pears
  • Narrated by: Geoffrey Howard
  • Length: 7 hrs and 13 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (330 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In an exchange of favors with an art dealer colleague, Jonathan Argyll unluckily offers to transport a painting from Paris back to Rome. It seems routine work, and Jonathan gets to meet his girlfriend, Flavia, who works for Rome's Art Theft Squad.

But when a would-be thief tries to take the painting at the train station, and the art dealer seems less interested in his purchase once he sees it, Jonathan wonders why, as events unfold, someone is willing to kill for it. With customary wit and panache, Jonathan and Flavia embark on a breathless chase to capture a killer who has been refining his own particular art for many years.

©1993 Iain Pears (P)1997 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A witty, exceptionally brilliant puzzler." ( Sunday Times (London))
"A joy for readers who enjoy a complex plot set to clever dialogue with the often nefarious goings-on of the international art market as a backdrop." ( St. Petersburg Times)

What listeners say about The Last Judgement

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Another Winner

After listening to the first book in the series, the Raphael affair, and enjoying it very much, I was concerned that the new narrator would ruin this book. But Geoffrey Howard did as good a job on this one as Ralph Cosham did on the previous book.
Iain Pears mysteries are smart, funny and engaging, and this one was no different (I have read the entire series as print books and have never been disappointed). The only problem I had with this audiobook is that it is out of sequence. The lives of Jonathan and Flavia follow a distinct timeline. It would have been nice if the publishers had chosen to record the second book in the series rather than one set farther down the fictional road.

8 people found this helpful

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Listen, enjoy, and learn!

If you could sum up The Last Judgement in three words, what would they be?

Art, betrayal, and murder.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Not exactly on the edge, but I did want to keep on listening to all the action.

Which scene was your favorite?

In Paris, when Flavia comes back from a night out and describes her adventures. It is comic.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Difficult to say but I think there is an element of a "bait and switch" to the story. So maybe that would be the tag line. If a movie, it would definitely be rated G for General audiences. This book reminds me of the Cary Grant movie "Charade" in its feel and tone.

Any additional comments?

This is the second Pears book I have listened to and throughly enjoyed his humor and cleverness in dealing with some serious subjects. I have learned something from every Pears art mystery book with that "spoonful of sugar" he uses in his writing. Howard is a great narrator for these books as he sounds so academic and authoritarian when that is the last way I picture the character Argyll.

3 people found this helpful

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The Long and Winding Road to Truth

Once again Jonathan and Flavia tackle an almost unsurmountable task. This time I wasn't sure they would pull it off, but, lo and behold, they did! Filled with quirky wit and resilience, these two unraveled the mystery that went back so far that I was sure it was buried forever. This fictional story makes me wonder just how much bs our governments (around the world) have fed us and still are. Excellent listen.

1 person found this helpful

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Intriguing

It was better then first one, I wish they had mentioned if they had cleared the other man’s name even though it’s fictional - just seems right. So French and Italian in nature

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Not fully satisfied.

I’m just commenting here on craft, not… opinions or ethics or whatnot, so I won’t go into the stereotypes and things like that that bothered me — honestly I’d say that’s part of the atmosphere of the European procedural, even if I find it distasteful.

What bothered me up until about halfway through was that there was just too much word of mouth — just about everything came from the testimony of some person who would never be heard from again, and any of it could be lies. It all depended on the author’s bent.

About halfway through, I figured out the solution, pretty much through that line— the author’s bent is anti-bureaucracy, I wouldn’t quite say anti-establishment, but at least, a view that governments, at least continental ones, are full of paper-pushers who don’t care, and higher-ups who cover up and smirk and say “well, you know how it is”. With that in mind, the “who” becomes obvious (since the author keeps beating you over the head with that one thing that, considering the bent, is clearly a sign of guilt), and the “why” falls into place from that.

I’m not enthralled, but it’s at least digestible, which is more than I can say for most of the other included books I’ve tried. Time to stop being stingy with credits.

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Weak story line and characters

The main characters were weak and frustrating. I enjoyed the previous book. After this,I will not read another by the author. The narrator was wonderful

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New author for me

It is a pleasure to recommend this book and the narrator. I always enjoy Mr Howard’s narration. For those of u who have enjoyed Mr pears work, I join you in appreciating his style. I will look forward to finding more of his work!

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Good mystery

I enjoyed this mystery. Lots of information about art originals and how others make money by forging artist's masterpieces. I enjoyed learning more about art history. It is a good story and well worth the read. Dialogue is clever and witty. I will be reading more of Mr. Pears books. Enjoy!

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solid

Good story, good narrator interesting characters. First t ik me listening to this author. I'll have to see what else is available.

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Not what I was hoping it would be

I enjoyed Ian Pears' The Raphael Affair, so I went looking for other audiobooks by him. Great - another story with the same characters, with an art theme!

Unfortunately, what made The Raphael Affair so good - the magic of a lost masterpiece hidden from the world - completely failed to materialize this time. What we got instead was a pretty run-of-the-mill caper that happens to have a painting involved in it. The story failed to enthrall with the idea of a missing masterpiece, and the resulting adventure story had nothing special about it. It wasn't a *bad* story, but it also wasn't anything special.