Title: The Case of the Missing Botticelli (A Massimo Domingo Mystery, Book 1)
Author: Marilyn Baron
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
In this cozy mystery, American art history major Hadley Evans joins an art detective agency in Florence, Italy, working for Massimo Domingo, once a major player, now the Inspector Clouseau of the art world.
Determined to save the flailing agency and prove her worth, Hadley and her sexy carabiniere boyfriend, Luca Ferrari, take on a mysterious client behind her boss's back. While hot on the trail of a missing masterpiece, they discover a hidden cache of stolen Nazi art in a Venetian villa and encounter a dangerous enemy with a link to an evil past.
A note from the author:
I was inspired to write the book by my experiences living in Florence, Italy, and studying art history and Italian in college. I’ve returned to visit Italy many times on business and for pleasure since then. Italian food, especially spaghetti carbonara and spaghetti con vongole, are my favorites. I’ve visited all of the locations in the book, from Florence to Venice to Lake Como.
Hadley wrote down the phone number, and her jaw went slack when she heard and inscribed the rest of the message. “Tell him it’s about a missing Botticelli. It’s urgent.”
A shot of adrenalin coursed through Hadley’s veins. Sandro Botticelli. Her favorite artist in the whole world. Creator of the Italian masterpiece, Nascita di Venere, The Birth of Venus, the ancient Goddess of Love, dated circa 1484. She wasn’t aware a Botticelli painting was missing.
Is there any additional information you can give me? The name of the painting? The provenance?
Capito. I understand the need for utmost secrecy. We can set up a meeting, and I’ll make sure Signore Domingo will be there.”
She jotted down some more notes. “Piazzale Michelangelo? At sunset?”
Hadley tilted her head and chewed on her bottom lip. That was a strange destination for a business meeting. Although it offered the most scenic view of the city, perched atop a hillside overlooking Florence, meeting at a park after dark was reminiscent of a murder scene in a film noir. Where the heroine, Hadley, would later be found, dead, her virtue compromised and
her throat slit. She would have to get Luca to drive her up on his motorcycle and stay out of sight while she conducted her business.
Was the female caller from a museum? A high-end gallery? An auction house? Was she an art or
antiquities dealer, or a wealthy private individual, or was she representing a government agency? And, if so, which government? Enemy or ally? She would soon find out.
Was it advisable to go to a park at night? Definitely not. The woman could be representing a client from the criminal art world. That’s why Luca had to accompany her. She intended to sweet-talk him into helping her. After all, he was in line to become a detective. He was used to investigations. He’d welcome the practice. And above all, Luca was a protector. It was inbred in him.
“You’re staying at L’Hotel Bernini Palace?”
That explained it. The five-star hotel was near the Piazzale. So, a high-end client. Just what the firm needed.
“He’ll be there,” Hadley assured. Hadley held the message in her quivering hand, pursed her lips, then stashed it in her new Furla handbag. What if the message had somehow been unintentionally misplaced without Signore Domingo seeing it, and she contrived to meet the contact alone?
Once her boss saw she could solve a case on her own, he would finally bring her into the fold and teach her secrets of the art theft underworld she was so desperate to learn.
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Marilyn Baron, a Miami native, writes in a variety of genres from women’s fiction to historical romantic thrillers and romantic suspense to paranormal/fantasy and cozy mysteries. She’s received writing awards in Single Title, Suspense Romance, Novel with Strong Romantic Elements and Paranormal/Fantasy Romance. She was also The Finalist in the 2017 Georgia Author of the Year Awards (GAYA) in the Romance Category for her novel, Stumble Stones, and The Finalist for the 2018 GAYA Awards in the Romance category for her novel, The Alibi. Her latest novel, The Case of The Missing Botticelli is her 28th work of fiction. A public relations consultant in Atlanta, and member of Atlanta Writers Club, Marilyn is past chair of Roswell Reads, a one-city, one-read program and serves on the Atlanta Authors Series Committee. She graduated from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and a minor in Creative Writing. To find out more about what Marilyn writes, visit her website at: www.marilynbaron.com/
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