★★★★★ The Vermeer Conspiracy by Eytan Halaban is the story of Sabrina, a disadvantaged Latina student attending Yale on a scholarship, and her beautiful, wealthy roommate Danielle, who turns up missing in September of their senior year. Danielle is an art history major whose primary interests are the seventeenth-century Dutch painters Vermeer, Fabritius, and Fabritius’ protégé and mistress, Hanna Deursen. Danielle’s professor, Verhaast, is famous for his research on these painters. He is a handsome, womanizing man who assaulted Sabrina, and Sabrina suspects he has some involvement with Danielle’s disappearance. Sabrina decides to take matters into her own hands and go on a trek through Europe to find Danielle, and possibly get even with Verhaast while she’s at it.
While the book portrays the art world as being more sensational and potentially violent than it is realistically, The Vermeer Conspiracy pulls the reader into the drama of discovery and fame that the Dutch artists in the novel have to offer. As Sabrina travels, she goes to a convent where she makes several pivotal discoveries and, soon after, the book reaches its dramatic conclusion. The reader will find herself rooting for Sabrina to locate Danielle, escape the danger that she gets into, and hope that Verhaast will be punished for his sleazy and criminal ways. The book is an extremely riveting journey into the lives of several dynamic characters, each of whom has interesting connections to the art of the famous Dutch painters. Sabrina’s quest to find Danielle truly makes for an excellent tale of mystery and intrigue.