Mona Lisa’s Secret
By Phil Philips
Joey Peruggia, ex-surfer and wealthy son of a family of gangsters, discovers a hidden safe room in the family mansion. When he explores it, he finds the original Mona Lisa painting stolen from the Louvre by his grandfather in 1911. His girlfriend Maria is an art historian and gallery owner. They decide to fly to France with the painting and meet with the curator there, an old family friend of Maria’s, to return the painting. Joey envisions a prestigious affair with the press and an exoneration of his grandfather. When they go to the Louvre to meet the curator, Joey hides the painting in his hotel room.
What he does not understand is the curator’s objections to a public announcement that would reveal the Mona Lisa on display in the Louvre is a well-done fake. Or that the genuine painting has a clue to a fabulous treasure. Or that the curator has hired three brutal, ex-military bodyguards. He assigns them the task of obtaining the painting and killing Joey and Maria.
While the book is riddled with errors, it is no more unbelievable than any Indiana Jones movie. I don’t know if the Seine has paddlewheel boats, but if it does, I don’t think the paddles are sharp enough to shred a person. They might drown him, however.
The curator captures Maria to use as a bargaining chip in negotiating with Joey. Meanwhile, Joey has to outsmart and outmaneuver the three bodyguards in a plot rife with twists and turns. I found it an enjoyable read, although I began to tire of the bodyguards’ persistence. The ending was strongly reminiscent of Indiana Jones. Dan Brown, too.
So if you like Dan Brown and have read through his books, you might try this one, which is the first in a series.
Eileen Haavik McIntire is staying home during the current coronavirus crisis. She hopes you are, too. What a great time to write and read!
Blog: Writers' Tip - The Question of Comps
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I love mysteries, secrets, strange people and weird places and hope to share what I find interesting with you on this website and in the mysteries I write.
For more about my mysteries, go to the 90s Club and the Shadow Series pages.
- Eileen Haavik McIntire
Comments from reviewers about my books:
The Two-Sided Set-Up - “McIntire’s latest novel is a fast-paced and multilayered thriller with well-developed characters and colorful settings...Most of the action is set in Virginia, and McIntire does a fine job of capturing the rhythm of its small-town life, from the friendliness of local business to the calm of quiet nights on the water. An engaging tale for aficionados of psychological suspense.” - Kirkus Reviews
Shadow of the Rock – “A riveting tale of time and humanity, highly recommended.” (Midwest Book Review) “A bold adventure....Chapters move quickly in a mixture of danger, excitement, and pure enjoyment...” (Foreword Reviews).
The 90s Club & the Hidden Staircase – “With plenty of humor and its own original tale . . .a must” for readers of cozy mysteries. (Midwest Book Review)
The 90s Club & the Whispering Statue - “A fun read....nostalgia and...social commentary, wrapped up in an engaging mystery novel.” (Foreword Reviews)
The 90s Club & the Secret of the Old Clock – “An impressively well crafted and thoroughly entertaining mystery that plays fair with the reader from beginning to end,” (Midwest Book Review)
“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own