The Mona Lisa Mystery

The Mona Lisa Mystery

By Vicki Totten


“Art is not what you see but what you make others see” — Edgar Degas


In 1911, the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in Paris, France. How does author and artist Jonathan Santlofer take this one known fact and weave it into a suspenseful tale of what might have happened around this famous theft and its eventual return to the Louvre two years later? On November 7, Elinor Lipman will interview the author of “The Last Mona Lisa” and dive into the world of art and literature.


Santlofer creates an enthralling page-turner as he holds the reader’s attention with fast-paced action moving from 1911 to the present day, and from Florence, Italy, to Paris, France, and eventually New York City. Art History Professor Luke Perrone, whose great grandfather confessed to the theft, a rogue Interpol investigator, a Russian art thief, and a mysterious American woman all contribute to the intrigue. Professor Perrone’s efforts to find out the truth about the theft cause him to stumble into the underworld of art forgery and obsession, putting his and other people’s lives in danger. 


The question ultimately explored is how an art collector’s love of collecting masterpieces can turn into an obsession, ultimately causing the collector to lose touch with anything else that matters. 


Jonathan Santlofer is an accomplished artist and 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 a featured segment on “Fresh Air with Terry Gross.” Santlofer’s art has been exhibited in more than 200 exhibitions, with work in major private and public collections. 


Elinor Lipman, the award-winning author of 16 books of fiction and nonfiction, will interview Santlofer. Her first novel, “Then She Found Me”, was made into a feature film starring Helen Hunt, with Bette Midler, Colin Firth, and Matthew Broderick, and is still on Netflix. Her writing is “brisk and intelligent” and “sparkles with wit.” Lipman’s most recent book is “Rachel to the Rescue.” 


Both were keynote speakers at the San Miguel Writers’ Conference in 2011. 


Join us for this Distinguished Speaker Zoom presentation on, Sunday, November 7, 6-7:30pm.


Tickets are pay-what-you-wish-scale, US$5-50 and are available at