Quote of the Week

"The key is to commit crimes so confusing that police feel too stupid to even write a crime report about them."
Randy K. Milholland, Something Positive Comic
10-30-03. Web Comic Pioneer

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"The Man who stole the Mona Lisa" by Robert Noah

Who would want to own a stolen painting, knowing that no one could ever know you own it? Or that you alone would be the only person who ever get to see it? This is the perpetual quandry in the theft of fine and famous art pieces and the background of this mystery. Based upon the famous thief of the "Mona Lisa" in 1911, Noah develops a personal story around the characters of the time and the ingenious way that the art was stolen. It is a fascinating story of Paris and also Italy during that period and how many artists made a living copying master works. Marquis Eduardo de Valfierno was a charismatic con man. As you read, you will see the mastery of the plot develop and you realize how easily an underworld can be tapped with the right connections and a little bit of money. This book while fiction is one of many written about this masterful crime. Ironically, it took 20 years before the painting was restored. You can Google for many articles on the real theft. The link about will take you to a Time Magazine article about it. I got this book out of the Thompson Public Library and it can be found in most larger library system catalogs. I highly recommend this book for the combination of great writing on a real life mystery that was ultimately solved and documented.
PS: Check the comment below for an outstanding blog and documentary on the theft. I was thrilled to have Mr. Medeiros comment and contribute. Check his blog. There are copies of original pictures and news articles from that time. The link needs to include the 'blogspot' part of the link or it will not work. Again thanks to Mr. Medeiros for adding richness to my humble effort.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Killer Instincts by Martina Navratilova and Liz Nickles

Finally, I found a sports related mystery that was also intriguing right from the cover. Truthfully, I didn't expect much and was pleasantly surprised. This book is the third in a series featuring former tennis great Jordan Myles. Myles is a former champion tennis player and current part owner of a sports spa type place and host of a women's sport tv show. Lots of opportunities for dastardly deeds on this one.
Details about tennis injuries, competition, and various tournaments were very realistic. The competition of tennis players and endorsements is interwoven with marketing of sports related products. In this case, a new sports drink is in the spotlight. A new topic comes forward in the possibility of toxic vitamin levels and unknown conditions even in the obviously healthy athletes.
Jordan's secretary, very likeable friends, rather unpleasant (controlling) boyfriend/partner all combine to create an enjoyable read. Even more important, the mystery of the deaths taking place ended up not having much in common with the ultimate downfall of the villain.
I found this at the Thompson Public Library at the suggestion of the research librarian, therefore it is available at any Connecticut library.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"The Oxford Murders" by Guillermo Martinez

Took me a while to post this book. To our faithful readers, I've been on a binge to read all summer and not necesarily reading books in order. This book is one of the most cerebral and scholarly mystery stories I have read in a while and another from a country other than the US. The main character is an Argentine mathematical scholar attending Oxford University. The plot begins with the murder of his elderly landlady who helped decipher the 'Enigma Code.' You meet a cast of intellectual characters from the world of mathematics and learn the background of many theories and suppositions. Don't let this keep you from reading this book. It is truly different and the author manages to weave an interesting who-dun-it with some amazing back stories of the mysteries of math. You will find as the story unwinds that the word 'calculated' has both literal and figurative meanings. I have a terrible habit of reading the ending and I didn't with this one and enjoyed the plot twists which kept me guessing who committed the crime to the end. I enjoy reading the works of authors from different countries and this did not disappoint. Are you a fan of the CBS series NUMB3RS? You will appreciate this book.
I recommend this book very much and it is available from most area libraries.