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author Jonathan Santlofer Jonathan Santlofer is the author of six books. His latest novel, The Last Mona Lisa, is an art detective story based on real events.

Literary Sala to interview author of The Last Mona Lisa in virtual event

Jonathan Santlofer's book is a fictional take on the real-life theft of the famous painting in 1911

In 1911, the Mona Lisa was stolen in a brazen robbery from the Louvre in Paris, where the thief slipped in among museum workers as they arrived for their morning shifts and slipped out with the painting under his arm.

The artwork’s theft, and its eventual return to the museum two years later by an Italian art dealer, is credited with endowing upon Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece — only somewhat well-known at the time — the international fame it has today.

In 2021, author and artist Jonathan Santlofer took this historic incident and wove it into a speculative, suspenseful tale of what might have happened around this famous theft and the painting’s eventual return. Author Elinor Lipman will interview Santofler about his book, The Last Mona Lisa, live online for the San Miguel Literary Sala on November 7.

In their conversation, Lipman and Santlofer will discuss how the author recreated the world of early 20th-century Europe for his fast-paced art detective novel, which involves a professor who is the thief’s grandson, a rogue Interpol investigator, a Russian art thief and more. In Santlofer’s novel, the fictional Professor Perrone’s efforts to find out the truth about the theft cause him to stumble into the contemporary underworld of art forgery and obsession, putting his and other people’s lives in danger.

Santlofer is the author of six other novels, including the international bestseller The Death Artist, and the Nero-award-winning Anatomy of Fear. His memoir, The Widower’s Notebook, appeared on over a dozen best books of 2018 lists and was featured in a segment on National Public Radio’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross in the United States.

He is also an accomplished fine artist whose work has been shown in more than 200 exhibitions and included in major private and public collections.

Lipman is the award-winning author of 16 fiction and nonfiction books. Her first novel, Then She Found Me, was made into a feature film starring Helen Hunt, Bette Midler and Colin Firth. Her most recent book is the novel Rachel to the Rescue.

The interview will take place on Zoom from 6–7:30 p.m. CST. Tickets are on a pay what you wish scale ranging from US $5 to $50. To find out more information on this event, visit the San Miguel Literary website.

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