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Tour: The London Forgery (A Fabiola Bennett Mystery #1) by Heidi Eljarbo

Book details:

Book Title: The London Forgery

Series: A Fabiola Bennett Mystery

Author: Heidi Eljarbo

Publication Date:29thAugust 2023

Publisher: self-published

Page Length: about 252

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#Historical, #Mystery, #DualTimeline,

1973. Art historian Fabiola Bennett sees herself as a prudently observant deer who becomes a daring and even mischievous lioness if the situation calls for it. And that’s exactly what’s required when greedy criminals steal, forge, and tamper with treasured artwork. When the crooks add murder to their list of crimes, the chaos is complete.

A mysterious note is delivered anonymously at the door of the National Gallery in London, and the director immediately calls Fabiola’s office in Oslo and pleads with her to come without delay. The message is confusing, but it seems one of her favorite eighteenth-century portraits is in trouble.

Fabiola hops on the first plane and meets up with her vibrant side-kick Pippa Yates and the ever-loyal Detective Inspector Cary Green from New Scotland Yard. But she is not naïve enough to think untangling the purpose and meaning of the mysterious note will be as simple as a walk in Hyde Park. These things never are.

1750. Newly married Robert and Frances Andrews, members of the landed gentry of Suffolk, England, hire young and talented Thomas Gainsborough to paint their wedding portrait. Their desire is a lovely conversation piece showing their wealth and class, an artwork to remember them by for generations to come.

Little do they know the gifted artist portrays their personalities exactly how he perceives them, and the artistic symbolism is not as flattering as they’d hoped for. Even the looming clouds in the distance promise a troublesome future.

This is the first book in a new dual timeline series by Heidi Eljarbo—an intriguing spin-off from the much-loved Soli Hansen Mysteries.

Fans of Lucinda Riley, Rhys Bowen, Kathleen McGurl, Kate Morton, and Katherine Neville will love this cozy historical art mystery, which takes the readers back to the nostalgia of the groovy seventies and the classical Georgian era of the eighteenth century.

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She followed Pippa to the door and locked it behind her, and then opened her suitcase and started to unpack. Fabiola scowled. Although the behavior of a man like Goode shouldn’t bother her, it affected her, nonetheless. Misogynist was perhaps too strong a word for him, but he certainly seemed to place women in a lesser category than himself…except for her mother, of course. People in the art world often mentioned Mor, and whenever Fabiola was introduced to someone new, it was usually with the attribute of being Soli Hansen’s daughter. Or when someone referred Fabiola to work a new case with new clients and wanted to vouch for her expertise, her mother’s name came up. Fine art galleries, universities of art, auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s, and curators worldwide had all worked with her mother, had invited her to give lectures, or had, at least, heard about her fame. Fabiola didn’t mind. In fact, she wouldn’t want it any other way. Mor had shared her wealth of knowledge with her only daughter, and as soon as she was able to take her little girl along on her travels, Mor had done so. They traveled together on her assignments to Rome, Paris, London, San Francisco, Tokyo—anywhere fine art was either displayed or in trouble.

Fabiola had been lucky. When she chose to make a career out of art history, her parents supported her without questions or qualms. Not like other students, whose parents repeatedly scoffed at the idea of obtaining such a silly, useless education and encouraged the pursuit of something worthwhile—a trade that would earn them money or an occupation so-called normal people had. Fabiola had spent years at the Royal College of Art in London and had undertaken summer internships at universities in Los Angeles, Bologna, and Amsterdam.

After she’d received her doctoral degree in art history, she’d worked with curators in Firenze, Berlin, and Zürich, as well as the larger Scandinavian galleries closer to home. She’d even ventured to countries on the opposite side of the globe and had made friends with people who treasured art the way she did. How could someone say art history was not a useful study? Fabiola had always thought of her studies as forming an understanding of the past and of how art evolved over the course of history. In addition, centuries ago, art had been more than a legacy or an investment, or even a means of achieving social acceptance; it had political significance. She often summed it all up by saying art helped us identify who we are today.

Mor had conveyed much more than who an artist was or what he painted. She’d taught Fabiola how to recognize the techniques used through time, the wonders of each art period, but most of all, a genuine, heartfelt love for art itself. This was the passion that filled Fabiola’s soul. So what if she felt socially incompetent or stumbled and fell from time to time?

Spending more time with books than people while growing up hadn’t exactly prepared her to win the award for most social person of the year. But she’d been working on that aspect of her personality…was still working on it.

Fabiola would have picked her parents even if she could have had any other mother and father on Earth.

She leaned over her suitcase and grabbed a treasure she’d brought from home. She unfolded the cloth, revealing a photograph in a brass frame, and placed it on her nightstand.

“And I would pick you a thousand times over, Iver.” She blew him a kiss and stared at the photograph for a moment. “I know, darling. A new case and I have no idea what it’ll bring. You always told me to be courageous and adventurous but also careful and forehanded. I’m afraid those words don’t combine well.”

One thing was certain, investigating art crime often steered her into more danger than Iver would approve of.

Heidi Eljarbo is the bestselling author of historical fiction and mysteries filled with courageous and good characters that are easy to love and others you don't want to go near.

Heidi grew up in a home filled with books and artwork and she never truly imagined she would do anything other than write and paint. She studied art, languages, and history, all of which have come in handy when working as an author, magazine journalist, and painter.

After living in Canada, six US states, Japan, Switzerland, and Austria, Heidi now calls Norway home. She and her husband have fifteen grandchildren—so far—in addition to a bouncy Wheaten Terrier.

Their favorite retreat is a mountain cabin, where they hike in the summertime and ski the vast, white terrain during winter.

Heidi’s favorites are family, God's beautiful nature, and the word whimsical.

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Tour hosted by: The Coffee Pot Book Club

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