2016 | Jennifer S. Alderson
Missing masterpieces, Nazi blackmailers and a pesky amateur sleuth.
When a Dutch art dealer hides the stock from his gallery - rather than turn it over to his Nazi blackmailer - he pays with his life, leaving a treasure trove of modern masterpieces buried somewhere in Amsterdam, presumably lost forever. That is, until American art history student Zelda Richardson sticks her nose in.
After studying for a year in the Netherlands, Zelda scores an internship at the prestigious Amsterdam Museum, where she works on an exhibition of paintings and sculptures once stolen by the Nazis, lying unclaimed in Dutch museum depots almost seventy years later.
When two women claim the same portrait of a young girl entitled Irises, Zelda is tasked with investigating the painting's history and soon finds evidence that one of the two women must be lying about her past. Before she can figure out which one and why, Zelda learns about the Dutch art dealer's concealed collection. And that Irises is the key to finding it.
Her discoveries make her a target of someone willing to steal - and even kill - to find the missing paintings. As the list of suspects grows, Zelda realizes she has to track down the lost collection and unmask a killer if she wants to survive.
The Lover's Portrait was Chill With A Book's January 2018 Book of the Month, chosen as one of TripFiction's 10 Favorite Books set in Amsterdam, and won the Silver Cup in Rosie's Book Review Team 2017 Awards, Mystery category. The Lover's Portrait also won a Chill With A Book Readers' Award, Readers' Favorite 5 star medal, was one of The Displaced Nation magazine's Top 36 Expat Fiction Picks of 2016, and came in at 14 in BookLife's 2016 Prize for Fiction in the Mystery category. It was also one of Women Writers, Women's Books magazine's Recommended Reads for April 2017.
Set in present day and wartime Amsterdam, this captivating mystery is not just about stolen paintings, but also the lives that were stolen.
This amateur sleuth mystery describes the plight of homosexuals and Jewish artists in Europe during World War II, as well as the complexities inherent to the restitution of artwork stolen by the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s.
All four mysteries in the Adventures of Zelda Richardson series are stand-alone novels and can be read in any order.