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Driven by an inner force that enabled her to go back in time, Rina de' Firenze reveals what has been, since the Italian Renaissance, an enduring mystery throughout history, by recounting the life of Caterina, the mother of the great genius, Leonardo da Vinci. Told through the voice of the heroine, "Lisa," the compelling story begins with her birth into a cruel, aristocratic world, where she is orphaned in infancy, and then growing up in the Tuscan countryside, where she was renamed Caterina. In a succession of revelations Caterina moves us by the vivid descriptions of the fears and anxieties she suffers, first, when her illegitimate son, Leonardo, is snatched from her care at a tender age and then in her life of isolation on a remote slope in the Tuscan hills. But later, for the adolescent Leo, her simple dwelling becomes a magnetic attraction when first he flees his father's comfortable home and then from Verocchio's studio, where he was an apprentice. In that solitary corner of the world he discovers the poetry of nature and observes its phenomena - water, plants, the flight of birds - and secretly builds his first mechanical devices, devoting himself to visions of human progress. Manifested throughout the book is the theme of Leonardo's dream: to immortalize his mother's image in the painting which has been a great mystery since its creation.
The Mona Lisa, the most famous painting in the world, has been stolen from the Louvre museum in Paris. Can Secret Agent Jack Stalwart find it before an evil thief takes it out of the country, never to be seen again?
On August 21, 1911, the unfathomable happened–Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa vanished from the Louvre. More than twenty-four hours passed before museum officials realized she was gone. The prime suspects were as shocking as the crime: Pablo Picasso and Guillaume Apollinaire, young provocateurs of a new art. As French detectives using the latest methods of criminology, including fingerprinting, tried to trace the thieves, a burgeoning international media hyped news of the heist. No story captured the imagination of the world quite like this one. Thousands flocked to the Louvre to see the empty space where the painting had hung. They mourned as if Mona Lisa were a lost loved one, left flowers and notes, and set new attendance records. For more than two years, Mona Lisa’s absence haunted the art world, provoking the question: Was she lost forever? A century later, questions still linger. Part love story, part mystery, Vanished Smile reopens the case of the most audacious and perplexing art theft ever committed. R. A. Scotti’s riveting, ingeniously realized account is itself a masterly portrait of a world in transition. Combining her skills as a historian and a novelist, Scotti turns the tantalizing clues into a story of the painting’s transformation into the most familiar and lasting icon of all time. From the Trade Paperback edition.
A Kirkus Reviews' Best of 2011 Fiction and a Library Journal Best Mystery of 2011 What happens when you mix a Parisian street orphan, a hot-tempered Spanish forger, a beautiful American pickpocket, an unloved wife, and one priceless painting? The charming Eduardo de Valfierno makes a very respectable living in Argentina fleecing the nouveau rich—they pay him to steal valuable pieces of art, and Valfierno sells them flawless forgeries instead. But when Eduardo meets the beautiful Mrs. Hart on his latest con, he takes a risk that forces him back to the city he loved and left behind—Paris. There he assembles his team of con artists for their final and most ambitious theft, one that will enable them to leave the game forever: The Mona Lisa. But when a member of the team turns up missing, and Mr. Hart shows up in Paris, Valfierno and his crew must stay one step ahead of a relentless police inspector, endure a devastating flood, and conquer their own doubts to keep the priceless painting in play—and survive. Based on the actual theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911, and published on the 100th anniversary of the crime, Stealing Mona Lisa is a sophisticated, engaging caper, complete with a richly imagined group of con artists and a historical mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end. Stealing Mona Lisa is a Kirkus Reviews Best of 2011 Mysteries title. One of Library Journal's Best Mystery Books of 2011
The 'Mona Lisa', the most famous painting in the world, has been stolen from the Louvre museum in Paris. Can Secret Agent Jack Stalwart find it before an evil thief takes it out of the country, never to be seen again?
On August 22, 1911, the world was shocked by an audacious crime: Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre. Although some people suspected subversive artists like Picasso or Apollinaire of perpetrating the theft, no arrests were made. Two years later, an Italian named Vincenzo Perugia was detained after attempting to sell the Mona Lisa to an antiques dealer in Florence -- but the mystery of the theft itself was never satisfactorily resolved. In his spellbinding novel Valfierno, Martín Caparrós tackles this enigma, presenting us with a fascinating criminal unable to go to his grave without divulging the details of his outrageous heist. In tantalizing conversations with an American journalist, the Marqués de Valfierno sheds light on his past secrets, including his sordid origins as Bollino, son of a Buenos Aires servant woman, a man ultimately transformed into the most notorious con artist in the world. A sly and consummate entertainer, Valfierno reveals the shifting identities of the anonymous Argentine boy who has gone on to become a veritable artist, creating for himself the perfect role of wealthy aristocrat in Belle Époque Paris as he prepares for his crime. Featuring an engaging cat-and-mouse drama and unforgettable characters, Valfierno is a brilliant fictional-ization of the greatest theft of the twentieth century, as well as a compelling psychological portrait of a true mastermind. Valfierno, Caparrós's eighth novel, won the prestigious Premio Planeta award in 2004.
In The Mystery of the Mona Lisa, Jack is sent to the Louvre Museum in Paris to track down the theft of the world's most beloved painting. He must match wits with a seemingly invisible mastermind in order to stop Leonardo's masterpiece from slipping into the criminal underground forever. Can Jack's Hypo-Disk overpower a glove that shoots laser beams from its fingertips? Jack's adventures in the city of light demonstrate once again that when it comes to outsmarting the baddies, Jack is the go-to agent with endless tricks up his sleeve.

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