The Case of the Missing Botticelli
by Marilyn Baron
GENRE: Cozy Mystery/Contemporary/Suspense
In this cozy mystery, American art history major Hadley Evans joins an art detective agency in Florence, Italy, working for Massimo Domingo, once a major player, now the Inspector Clouseau of the art world.
Determined to save the flailing agency and prove her worth, Hadley and her sexy carabiniere boyfriend, Luca Ferrari, take on a mysterious client behind her boss's back. While hot on the trail of a missing masterpiece, they discover a hidden cache of stolen Nazi art in a Venetian villa and encounter a dangerous enemy with a link to an evil past.
Hadley wrote down the phone number, and her jaw went slack when she heard and inscribed the rest of the message.
“Tell him it’s about a missing Botticelli. It’s urgent.” A shot of adrenalin coursed through Hadley’s veins. Sandro Botticelli. Her favorite artist in the whole world. Creator of the Italian masterpiece, Nascita di Venere, The Birth of Venus, the ancient Goddess of Love, dated circa 1484. She wasn’t aware a Botticelli painting was missing. “Is there any additional information you can give me? The name of the painting? The provenance? Capito. I understand the need for utmost secrecy. We can set up a meeting, and I’ll make sure Signore Domingo will be there.” She jotted down some more notes. “Piazzale Michelangelo? At sunset?”
Hadley tilted her head and chewed on her bottom lip. That was a strange destination for a business meeting. Although it offered the most scenic view of the city, perched atop a hillside overlooking Florence, meeting at a park after dark was reminiscent of a murder scene in a film noir. Where the heroine, Hadley, would later be found, dead, her virtue compromised and her throat slit. She would have to get Luca to drive her up on his motorcycle and stay out of sight while she conducted her business. Was the female caller from a museum? A high-end gallery? An auction house? Was she an art or antiquities dealer, or a wealthy private individual, or was she representing a government agency? And, if so, which government? Enemy or ally? She would soon find out.
I enjoyed reading this story. Hadley, the heroine, is determined and resourceful, but she did have the good sense to call in help when she needed it. Her boyfriend who is a policeman seemed devoted to her even though I did question some of his actions.
I liked the connection to World War II and the way that the past and present were so intertwined. I also liked that at least one of the characters wasn't exactly who he/she seemed. Hadley showed great resourcefulness in tracking down a missing masterpiece and proved herself to everyone, especially her boss.
The book was very well written with no obvious mistakes to mar the story. It was a cozy mystery, but the book had elements of suspense as well. All in all it was a nice way to spend a few hours.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Marilyn Baron writes in a variety of genres from women’s fiction to historical romantic thrillers and romantic suspense to paranormal/fantasy. She’s received writing awards in Single Title, Suspense Romance, Novel with Strong Romantic Elements and Paranormal/Fantasy Romance. She was also The Finalist in the 2017 Georgia Author of the Year Awards (GAYA) in the Romance Category for her novel, Stumble Stones, and The Finalist for the 2018 GAYA Awards in the Romance category for her novel, The Alibi. Her latest novel, The Case of the Missing Botticelli: A Massimo Domingo Mystery, released January 24, 2022, is her 28th work of fiction. A public relations consultant in Atlanta, Marilyn is past chair of Roswell Reads and serves on the Atlanta Authors Series Committee. To find out more about what Marilyn writes, visit her website at: www.marilynbaron.com/
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