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The world's most famous painting is stolen from a museum; a pair of promising young artists are fingered as the prime suspects. It sounds like speculative historical fiction or perhaps the beginning of Dan Brown's next novel, but it's actually the very real story of the 1911 theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre. Like everybody else, I thought that I knew all there was to know about Leonardo da Vinci's enigmatic artwork. R.A. Scotti's truly riveting account of the heist showed me how wrong I was. Obviously, this was no ordinary crime: In fact, this brazen act of thievery by a rank amateur was so successful that a full day passed before any alarm was sounded!  But what followed was even more stunning: The thoroughly confused and embarrassed police hauled in artist Pablo Picasso and poet Guillaume Apollinaire as possible culprits. Even more surprisingly, the surprisingly altruistic portrait-snatcher became a hero in his native country! I had never before heard of this book's author, but make no mistake: Vanished Smile a great read.
Categories: art, true crime

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