Friday, July 8, 2011

A Paris Themed Summer

My first meeting of M. Lisa.
It's a Paris themed summer. Driving between Virginia and Vermont, I listened on CD to R. A. Scotti's Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of the Mona Lisa. Okay. True confession. I didn't know that the Mona Lisa had once been stolen! I tell you, if this tidbit had been included in high school history classes, I would have engaged.

Mary Jo Murphy's New York Times review of the book is itself a literary work of art. She begins: "Four hundred years before Picasso reassembled women with eyeballs where breasts should be and noses poking out of ears, Leonardo da Vinci put a smile on a woman’s face — right where nature intended and yet unlike any smile before it or since. It was Mona Lisa’s, and on the morning of Aug. 22, 1911, it wasn’t there."

Scotti's well researched account of the crime and its abundant suspects is a history lesson of the Western art world of the early 20th century. We're also introduced to the development of forensic science, the history of the Louvre, and the biography of Mona Lisa -- the painting the French call La Joconde. Since the reader makes or breaks an audio book, I'm happy to say that Kathe Mazur does a good job.

I read Vanished Smile after I'd seen Woody Allen's Cannes applauded Midnight in Paris. The book provides historical details which compliment the film.  They're a great match for a Paris themed summer.

For more on Paris:
Keeping a Personal Promise
Mysteries in Paris
Almost French
The Sweet Life in Paris
What Should I See in Paris?
The List of 35
First Day in Paris!
Paris Jour Deux
Joyce, Hemmingway and Ujka Larson
An American (Library) in Paris
My Birthday in Paris
J'aime Paris!
My Last Night in Paris

1 comment:

  1. I was already planning to see Midnight in Paris, and now I definitely want to read Vanished Smile -- I love mysteries and Paris, too. Thanks for a great book suggestion!