cover image Stealing Mona Lisa: A Novel of Paris

Stealing Mona Lisa: A Novel of Paris

Carson Morton. Minotaur, $24.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-312-62171-1

Historical fans will welcome professional musician Morton's first novel, set in the early 20th century. Eduardo de Valfierno, the epitome of the suave criminal, has assembled a motley crew of thieves, grifters, and opportunists who sell priceless paintings to wealthy collectors. Though the greedy investors receive expert forgeries, Valfierno is adept at making them believe they possess actual masterpieces. The stakes rise when Valfierno and his colleagues%E2%80%94joined by American pickpocket extraordinaire Julia Conway, disgruntled Louvre employee Vicenzo Perugia, and struggling artist Jos%C3%A9 Diego Santiago de la Sant%C3%ADsima%E2%80%94plot to steal the Mona Lisa, known as La Joconde in France. The audacious plan, however, is undone by human nature as love, lust, jealousy, greed, and murderous revenge come into play, along with excessive rains and the worst flooding in contemporary Paris history. Morton smoothly blends fact and fiction while evocatively exploring the era's seamy underbelly. (Aug.)