Van Gogh’s Secret

Original title: Le Secret de Van Gogh

Author: Mercier, Eric

Publication Date:

March 2024



Original language and publisher

Territories Handled

Worldwide excl. French


Crime & Thrillers

Van Gogh’s Secret

Original title: Le Secret de Van Gogh

Author: Mercier, Eric


When a painting by not just one, but two famous artists – both Van Gogh and Gauguin – is discovered, the whole art world is in an uproar. Especially when the priceless work, which belonged to a murdered businessman, vanishes…

In 1888, Paul Gauguin went to stay in Arles, in the house that Van Gogh had rented, to found the Atelier du Midi (the Studio of the South). But their friendship was short-lived. One evening in December, in a fit of madness, Van Gogh cut off his own ear, and Gauguin left town.

Nearly two centuries later, a businessman is found murdered in his own home… with his ear cut off. In the man’s safe, the police find a photo of a painting set in Arles, portraying women out for a stroll. The painting is authenticated and turns out to have been painted by both Van Gogh and Gauguin during the time when they were living together. Captain Frédéric Vicaux and his second-in-command, Laetitia Roux, from the Paris crime squad, are put in charge of the investigation. Does the missing painting conceal the keys to the mysterious affair?

With Le Secret de Van Gogh, Éric Mercier presents another skillful new detective story with a fast-paced plot and an unexpected ending. Interrogations of the usual suspects come hard on the heels of those of art-house auctioneers, museum curators and Van Gogh specialists, for readers’ greater enjoyment.

In the vein of such art-world detective stories as Black Water Lilies by Michel Bussi, Un été à Pont-Aven (A Summer in Pont-Aven) by Jean-Luc Bannelec, and La Couleur bleue (The Color Blue) by Jörg Kastner, Le Secret de Van Gogh is a subtle blend of detective fiction full of plot twists and in-depth knowledge of art history.

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