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This installment of the Detective Heat series involves a sidetrack into Boston’s art scene. While looking for answers to a mystery, Heat and Rook encounter a tribute to John Singleton Copley, street art, and visit the Museum of Fine Arts. On the street art itself, the text gave descriptions of certain snout nosed animals wearing Robber Baron chic rendered on the Fine Arts building (I think, the text left things vague). Possibly a covert Banksy reference, but I haven’t come across anything by him depicting such subjects. In fact, I don’t think he would have used that kind of iconography, for he would have thought it too cliché. The pair also saw a street art sculpture installation, but I did not recognize the style, nor could I find anything in my online searches. Then again, it’s probably a reference to this episode. Also, maybe the first example of street art came from a Banksy wannabe.
At the Museum, Heat and Rook check out Gilbert Stuart and Winslow Homer. There, Rook comments on how tactile and realistic the water in Homer’s’ paintings look. Also, more paintings by John Singer Sargent make their presence known. This time, The Daughters of Edward Darly Boit (1) and Madame Ramon Subercaseaux (2) receive a mention. Interesting how every time the Heat series references a Singer painting, they choose the ones that depicts the various ages of girls and women. In the first book Heat Wave, Heat contemplates the utopia of the girls in Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose while thinking of her own harsh thrust from Eden and into a violent, unsure reality. I didn’t expect the theme to continue this far into the series. In the text, the portrait of Subercaseaux reminds Heat of her mother, but I think they could represent something else.
Heat’s growing up.
If you click on the links that give stories and interpretations behind the Singer paintings, they’re all about ambiguity in domestic settings and turning points in people’s lives. In Frozen Heat, the detective thinks about her personal crossroads as she analyzes her relationship with Rook and the puzzle of her mother’s life.