“Stealing Mona Lisa” (Minotaur Books, $14.99), Carson Morton's debut novel, is a historical mystery that is based on the actual theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911.
The author blends fact with fiction to create an intriguing story about who stole the painting and how, where it was hidden and why it took two years for it to be returned.
Eduardo de Valfierno lives in Argentina and makes his living by stealing valuable pieces of art to sell to rich collectors. But he sells them perfect forgeries, instead. When he meets the beautiful Mrs. Hart on his latest con deal, he takes a risk that brings him back to Paris.
There he assembles his team of con artists that includes a Parisian street urchin, a hot-tempered Spanish forger, a beautiful pickpocket and the unloved wife of a rich American for their final caper — stealing the priceless Mona Lisa.
Valfierno and his team run into trouble when Mr. Hart shows up and a police inspector is on their trail. Paris is deluged under a devastating flood, and the fate of the Mona Lisa is highly questionable.
This is a fast-moving suspense story with great characters, vivid descriptions of old Paris and an ironic twist at the end.
— Betty Lytle