Vanished Smile: Book summary and reviews of Vanished Smile by R.A. Scotti

Vanished Smile

The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa

By R.A. Scotti

Vanished Smile
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2009,
    256 pages.

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Book Summary

In Paris at the start of a radically new century, the most famous face in the history of art stepped out of her frame and into a sensational mystery.

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"The true motive for the theft - and the possible connection to a larger ring of art thieves - remains tantalizingly unknown by the end of this lively recounting." - Publishers Weekly.

"Starred Review. Mystery fans, history buffs and culture vultures alike will savor this delectable immersion in the mindset of an age." - Kirkus Reviews.

"Scotti’s avid, exciting true-life mystery yields intriguing disclosures and reaffirms Mona Lisa’s unique powers." - Booklist.

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R. A. Scotti is the author of three previous works of nonfiction, including Basilica: The Splendor and the Scandal—Building St. Peter’s and Sudden Sea: The Great Hurricane of 1938, and four novels. She lives in New York City.

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