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Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of the Mona Lisa Paperback – Illustrated, April 6, 2010
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“Luminous…. Scotti narrates the investigation with gusto and grace.” —The Washington Post Book World
“A story that La Gioconda herself would have smiled at—enigmatically, of course.” —Time
“Beguiling…. An absence of clues meant an abundance of theories, and Scotti advances them all in an arresting…narrative.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Elegant and erudite…. Scotti follows the trail of the missing masterpiece with the same zestful sense of adventure that she brought to Basilica…. An unabashed literary diva, Scotti commands attention from page one.” —The Boston Globe
“The painting was missing for more than two years, and the names of the prime suspects in the case—Pablo Picasso and his friend, the poet and art critic Guillaume Apollinaire—push this story past something even Dan Brown could concoct. . . . A rolling . . . piece of entertainment. . . . Reminds us of the bedrock appeal of the Mona Lisa’s gaze.” —The New York Times
“Captivating. . . . Scotti’s sophistication, wit, style, and illuminating research makes this a delightfully suspenseful read.” —Providence Journal
“A charming [book] that delves deeper into the mystique of the Mona Lisa herself. . . . Readers hankering for more of da Vinci and his enigmatic sitter, whose smooth smile has been bewitching men for centuries . . . should reach for Vanished Smile.” —St. Petersburg Times
“Equal parts art history and crime caper. . . . This rollicking tale makes for fascinating reading.” —The Christian Science Monitor
“Reads like a prose poem with narrative gallop.” —Time
“Superb. . . . An art-heist page-turner that will delight art enthusiasts as well as true-crime buffs. (Note to Hollywood: This may be your best hope for a caper starring Brad Pitt and George Clooney as Picasso and Apollinaire.)” —Richmond Times-Dispatch
“As full of twists, turns and suspense as any mystery novel. . . . Makes the Mona Lisa's story even more significant—and her smile even more alluring.” —BookPage
“Remarkable. . . . R.A. Scott combines her skills as a historian and novelist to recreate this sensational crime, which has all the twists and turns of a mystery novel, except that it’s true.” —Florida Weekly
“A book that nonfiction lovers, true-crime lovers, and especially art lovers will thoroughly enjoy.” —Curled Up With a Good Book
“Who needs The Da Vinci Code when you can have the real thing?” —The Daily Beast
“An apt tribute to Leonardo da Vinci’s mysterious muse. . . . In Vanished Smile, R.A. Scotti deftly uncovers the mysterious theft of the art world’s prima donna. . . . Thanks to Scotti’s meticulous research and atmospheric writing, a crime that had all the trappings of insanity, national prestige and obsession is brought to light marvelously.” —The Business Standard
“A crime caper . . . that convey[s] l’air du temps. . . . Enthralling.” —Financial Times
About the Author
- Item Weight : 9 ounces
- Paperback : 256 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0307278387
- ISBN-13 : 978-0307278388
- Dimensions : 5.2 x 0.57 x 8 inches
- Publisher : Vintage; Illustrated edition (April 6, 2010)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #473,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Like the person who stole the Picasso in San Francisco, the individual who stole the Mona Lisa--as detailed in this book--was a rogue individual with questionable intellect, somewhat delusional motives, and an opportunist.
This book is a combination of historical account, coupled with a lot of mystery thrown in. It's not a suspenseful read, by any means, but it does hold your attention. The author jumps to the chase, such that we find out the Mona Lisa is missing within the first few pages. We then learn about the sequence of events that surround the investigation of the crime, as well as the impact it had on French and broader European culture/society.
That Picasso was investigated as a suspect (and, we learn, Picasso's is the most stolen art in modern day) is an interesting twist, something I had never known, even though I'm familiar with much of his art, story, and background.
The book flows easily, and though the author delves into a few tangential areas, these are mostly related to the topic at hand. It actually helps to broaden the reader's perspective about art, history, and the role that artists and their product played in European society way back when.
This book will appeal to those who love art; who understand or want to know about security measures in museums, past and present; anyone who has seen the Mona Lisa and wants to read more on the painting's history; and those with an interest in European art from previous centuries.
I read the book on Kindle, and though there are a few pictures in the book, they translated ok to the Kindle format. There are numerous spelling errors, however. I don't know if this is also true in the standard form, or if some of the words got jumbled when it was put in Kindle format.
Anyhow, 4 stars from me ****
As for her captivating smile, yeah, well there are more alluring and mysterious smiles out there from ladies who haven't had the good fortune of being secured through history by an artist of da Vinci's stature and caliber. Are fans in love with the painting or impressed with another one of da Vinci's great talents?
Hard to say and who knows maybe we catch her looking at us, caught in our baths, and her smile at our embarrassment suggests she has uncovered a humorous truth. But that's another story. This one is about R.A. Scotti's book, VANISHED SMILE- The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa.
Scotti's book is a great 'who and why dunnit;' a real-life mystery the likes of which any lover of mysteries would appreciate and enjoy. Through wonderful research and a great knack for 'storyline' this factual look at the theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre on August 21, 1911 offers up a good and even highly entertaining read. It is a fun read as well with historical trivia gems scattered throughout its pages to shed some interesting light on the Louvre, Paris, da Vinci, Picasso, the historical heist, and the whole lack of eyebrow thing? A varnish problem, maybe? But I suppose it beats that Freida Kahlo look.
With good or interesting books I tend to dog-ear pages or underline things or make comments here and there- all of which I did to my hardcover copy, many times.
The only problem I had with the book came from the annoying numbering system within its ten semi-chapter heading beginning with A Perfect Crime. They are mini-chapters within chapters each beginning with the number One.
Yeah, well that's a layout problem but doesn't take away from the fact that Scotti delivered a noteworthy and enjoyable book.
It was fascinating to me how many things were in play in 1911 when she was stolen, the beginnings of forensics and fingerprinting, who was suspected, the lack of security, etc.
Some critiques suggest this would have been a better book if it had been written as a historical fiction novel. It may be true that it might have made a more satisfying story - with nicely tied up ends - that way. I, however, like the way it was done. I like that the author presented the varying facts and theories as we know them. It makes the book and heist as mysterious as Mona Lisa's famous smile.
Having seen Mona Lisa myself, this was a particularly interesting read!