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Stealing Mona Lisa

3.60  ·  Rating Details  ·  647 Ratings  ·  142 Reviews
A Kirkus Reviews' Best of 2011 Fiction and a Library Journal Best Mystery of 2011

What happens when you mix a Parisian street orphan, a hot-tempered Spanish forger, a beautiful American pickpocket, an unloved wife, and one priceless painting?
The charming Eduardo de Valfierno makes a very respectable living in Argentina fleecing the nouveau rich—they pay him to steal valuabl
Hardcover, 340 pages
Published August 2nd 2011 by Minotaur Books
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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern11/22/63 by Stephen KingState of Wonder by Ann PatchettThe Art of Fielding by Chad HarbachThe Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
Kirkus Best Books of 2011
84th out of 88 books — 179 voters
Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. MilneMake Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskeyAnne of Green Gables by L.M. MontgomeryLife of Pi by Yann MartelVampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Authors With A Last Name Starting With "M"
397th out of 934 books — 41 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,828)
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Aug 17, 2011 Kim rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This was a terrific book. This novel of the theft of the "Mona Lisa" left me wanting to learn more about the real theft of the famous portrait hanging in the Louvre. The characters, while scoundrels, were very likeable and made the story that much more enjoyable. I became lost in Marquis Vilfiernio's telling of his and his compatriots escapades.

I especially liked the ending of this book as it left something to the imagination!
Heather Zuber-Harshman defines a "mystery" as "anything that is kept secret or remains unexplained or unknown." I did not find anything in this book to be a mystery, yet it is classified as such.

Instead, I found there to be quirky characters, interesting overlap between characters, and some fun dialogue - that's about it. Otherwise it was quite blah. I had to motivate myself to keep turning the pages because I'm determined to finish all books I start, but I skimmed most of the pages as a lot of the par
Laura Lee
Jan 31, 2016 Laura Lee rated it really liked it
This is one of those books you can say silly banal stuff about, like rollicking good fun! A page turner!
One laugh after the other. This was a book club book which can sometimes be a disappointment, but this book delivered. Caught my attention right away. Without giving too much away, it is based on the real
the 1911 burglary of the Mona Lisa.
Mar 06, 2016 Aisling rated it liked it
Sometimes you read a book at the wrong time; that may have happened here. I recently finished some great books so reading this next seemed frivolous and annoying. It's not a bad book, parts are quite good. But ultimately Morton took someone else's fabrication, made it more ludicrous (Picasso) and lacked direction in his writing. Friends I respect told me they really enjoyed it so I read it and I'm not going to trash it. But I just feel blah about having read it. Don't think I'll pick up another ...more
Laurie Johnston
I saw this book on a list of literary thrillers. As such, it doesn't disappoint--and yet, it's still a light, fun read.

According to Wikipedia, in 1932 (Morton says 1925), journalist Karl Decker published a story in the Saturday Evening Post claiming one Eduardo de Valfierno had masterminded the daring heist of the Mona Lisa in 1911. Though notoriously fast and loose with facts, in order to make his story stick, Decker presumably met his source, and most of Stealing Mona Lisa reveals the alleged
Oct 09, 2011 Kevin rated it really liked it
What happens when you mix a Parisian street orphan, a hot-tempered Spanish forger, a beautiful American pickpocket, an unloved wife, and one priceless painting?

The charming Eduardo de Valfierno makes a very respectable living in Argentina fleecing the nouveau rich—they pay him to steal valuable pieces of art, and Valfierno sells them flawless forgeries instead. But when Eduardo meets the beautiful Mrs. Hart on his latest con, he takes a risk that forces him back to the city he loved and left beh
Jun 19, 2011 Amandaj rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Stealing Mona Lisa is a fictional story based off of the real theft of the Mona Lisa in 1911. The story follows Eduardo de Valfierno, a man who makes his living selling forgeries of masterpieces to clients who believe they are receiving the original paintings. He and his partner in crime, an orphan who once saved his life, plot to steal the Mona Lisa. A young woman, Julia weasels her way into the action. Her character annoyed me at times. I suppose that she was supposed to be charming, but she j ...more
Jun 15, 2011 Donna rated it really liked it
i thoroughly enjoyed this mystery/historical fiction that I won on GOODREADS. The writing was very easy and flowing full of lovely details.. The characters were developed. Eduardo de Valierno was a likeable crook/charlatan. His band of crimimals are also pleasant. The author described early Paris so well that the reader was easily transported back. The flood at the end of the novel was frightening.
I would recommend this book. The ending is wonderful!
May 26, 2016 Merle added it
What a fun light story of intrigue and romance around the theft of the Portrait of Mona Lisa.
Playing a bit fast and loose with the chronology of facts from the real case and the weather in Paris, author Carson Morton sets the great flood of 1910 after Eduardo Vilfierno and Vincenzo Peruggia along with some accomplices remove the Mona Lisa from the Louvre Museum in 1911.
Adding in a few romantic relationships the author also creates a story about the dilemma of greed and love. Would the reader do
May 24, 2014 Julie rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
It takes the theft of the Mona Lisa by an Italian Laborer at the beginning of the 20th Century as its starting point. A con-artist whose usual scam is to sell forgeries of art he pretends that he has stolen decides to undertake a larger job. He plans to actually steal the Mona Lisa, sell several forged copies of it, and then return the original to the museum. He is after all a con-artist, not an art thief. He works with a team of petty criminals who are like family to him. A love interest, runni ...more
A bauble, well-written, engaging. Not sure what the genre is, but doesn't really qualify - the author doesn't contend it does - as historical fiction. Instead he has written a novel the touch point of which is the 1911 theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre. The characters, charming con artists against rapacious greed, banter without missing a beat, upbeat dialogue worthy of rom-coms. I can't say anything bad about it, but I don't think I'd recommend it to anyone - there's just not much there.
Linda O'Donnell F.
In all honesty, I was apprehensive about even beginning this book after reading some of the reviews. Many dogged it because it was a let-down "mystery". I believe that the mysterious element in regard to Stealing Mona Lisa is simply the fact that one can let their imagination go in a multitude of directions. This book is not meant to be a heavy-lifting piece of literature.

I enjoyed Stealing Mona Lisa as a frolicking romp through the land of the art world of Paris in 1911. The whole premise is b
Jan 07, 2015 Delma rated it liked it
I did a presentation once, for a class at USC about Picasso. The class was fascinated by the fact that Picasso had been questioned by police for the theft of the Mona Lisa. Most of them never knew the Mona Lisa had been stolen from the Louvre. This is a fictionalized account sort of. It was an enjoyable, quick read. Since my favorite genre is Historical fiction, I'm passionate about Art, and love a mystery, I had high expectations. The book was okay. Characters could've used some more depth.
Jun 19, 2011 Susan rated it really liked it
Who doesn't enjoy a bit of escapism every now and then? Stealing Mona Lisa was a thoroughly enjoyable read. Carson Morton is a good storyteller and overall, the novel comes together seamlessly and leaves the reader with very few loose ends/unanswered questions. This book is appropriate for readers of most ages (if you would let your child read Harry Potter Book 4+, you would let your child read this).

The beginning was a bit cliche, but unclear whether there is really any other way to go about it
May 26, 2013 Melissa rated it it was amazing
Loved this book-stayed up late to finish it in just a few hours. Based loosely on a true story, there is romance and deceit and Paris and great works of art...along with pretentious rich men.

"The charming Eduardo de Valfierno makes a very respectable living in Argentina fleecing the nouveau rich—they pay him to steal valuable pieces of art, and Valfierno sells them flawless forgeries instead. But when Eduardo meets the beautiful Mrs. Hart on his latest con, he takes a risk that forces him back t
Jul 12, 2011 D R rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
drey’s thoughts:
Carson Morton’s retelling of the theft of La Joconde from the Louvre is an entertaining read. His heist crew are an interesting bunch–from the suave gentleman to the street orphan to the pickpocket. His mark is not someone you’ll feel bad for. And his storytelling will keep you turning the pages…

We don’t start out with the big caper, of course. Instead Morton teases us with a smaller painting, in a smaller location… This is where we meet Mr. Hart and his wife, and while we don’t
Katharine Ott
Mar 18, 2016 Katharine Ott rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
"Stealing Mona Lisa" - written by Carson Morton and published in 2011. Summer vacation is here and this was a good book to kick off the reading season. The plot, setting and characters were well-drawn and made for an engaging art heist adventure. Along the way I learned a few interesting tidbits about the world of art forgery and even a little trivia about criminal investigations - experts used to rely on anthropometry, "...the science of identifying a repeat offender by keeping precise measurem ...more
May 30, 2015 Kathy rated it really liked it
I liked this book! The blurb on the book says, "What happens when you mix a mysterious con artist, a Parisian street orphan, a hot-tempered Spanish forger, a beautiful American pickpocket, a desperate , unloved wife, and one priceless painting?". The international setting flows around the world, but centers primarily in Paris. It is set in the 1920s and I was especially intrigued about the history of the city at that time period. Kept my attention the whole time. Quick read!
Feb 22, 2016 Carmen rated it liked it
A con artist discovers a young lady who can really snatch wallets. Until that time, he had financed his life making fake copies of art and selling them to wealthy Americans. He decides it is time to try and "steal" the famous Mona Lisa. So the group moves from Argentina to France. And the action begins. Set in the 1800's this book perfectly displays how people felt about things and the environment they lived in.
May 24, 2012 Melissa rated it really liked it
The grandest art heist of all time, also known as Oceans Eleven for art lovers.

Eduardo de Valfierno steals and sells masterpieces to the wealthy, only he sends them home with forgeries. After spending a decade in Argentina, he returns to Paris with plans of stealing the greatest painting of all time, the Mona Lisa.

I thought it took a little while to get into the story, but from the beginning Morton does an excellent job of establishing characters. My favorites being the beautiful American pickp
Pat Jennings
Mar 06, 2014 Pat Jennings rated it liked it
Although a work of fiction, this book was based on an actual theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in Paris in 1911. The visual descriptions stood out. Having been to several of the locations that were described in the book, it was especially fun to read about the exciting "goings on" at that time in Paris.
Mystery, love story, and historically based in Paris- How could any of that not be delightful?
Mar 21, 2012 Mayda rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, first-reads
Stealing Mona Lisa is a study in right and wrong, good and evil, trust and betrayal. Before you are even half way through this novel, you will be rooting for the so-called bad guys to prosper and win. Perhaps this is the only fault I can find with this tale: The forgers and swindlers are portrayed as the heroes of story, and the reader knows you shouldn’t hope for thieves to elude the police. But we do. The novel is loosely based on the actual theft of the Mona Lisa, and historical figures are u ...more
Apr 09, 2015 Vickie rated it really liked it
What a delightful mystery/historical fiction. I'll add more to my review as my computer is sick, it came down with a virus and has to quarantined for a few days. Likewise, my iPad caught the same bug.

My goodness, this was a great mystery. There is: Marquis Valfierno, an Argentinian con artist; Emile, a Parisian street urchin; Julia Conway, an American pickpocket; Diego, a master "reproduction" artist who soon begins to delve into the absurd; Joshua Hart, an American robber baron; Emily Hart, Jo
Jun 27, 2011 Joe rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Age 15 and up.
I received this book through the First Reads program.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I do not know much about art history so how much of it is based on the actual theft of the Mona Lisa I cannot say, but the book has encouraged me to do research on it.

The book moves along nicely and kept me well engaged and I enjoyed the development of the characters. I was certainly surprised by the ending.

One minor point I noticed was the the author has a bunch of $100 bills floating down the river in 1913.
Dec 06, 2014 Melinda rated it liked it
Couldn't decide if it was a 3 or a 4. I didn't really like the ending but really liked the rest of the book! Encouraged me to look up the "true" story of the theft. I did really like the way the book was written, I enjoyed the scenes in Buenos Aires and Paris, two of my favorite cities, and I would recommend others to read it.
Jan 08, 2015 Jacquelyn rated it it was amazing
Loved it! It takes place in several cities, but mostly Paris revolving around the 1911 stealing of the Mona Lisa. Takes the basic facts and weaves them with a thrilling story. A riveting story that made me wish I could return to Paris, either this century or a hundred years ago.
Sep 27, 2013 Lesley rated it it was ok
This book was a great concept that was very poorly executed. I had high hopes, but the book was poorly written. The first half and the second half of the book really didn't seem to go together or make complete sense. I feel there are many other avenues the author could have explored with the same premise and characters that would have made an excellent book, but instead he had a story with unimportant detail, lack of character development, two disjointed halves and a variety of weird endings. Th ...more
Mar 04, 2015 Jay added it
Shelves: dnf, ebooks
I wanted to like this but the dialogue was so bad. I gave it 50 pages and while I was (and still am) interested in the plot, I just couldn't get over the bad, stilted, cliche dialogue.
Feb 07, 2015 Melissa rated it liked it
I wouldn't call this a mystery as the whole story is laid out for you, nothing is mysterious. It was entertaining though. A fun story of art theft and forgeries, 1900s Paris, and a young Picasso.
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... was born in London, England and moved with his family to the United States as a young lad (11). He grew up in Point Lookout and Long Beach on the South Shore of Long Island and attended college at The State University of New York at Oneonta, finally settling in the town of Woodstock, New York in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains. He worked as a professional musician for many years, makin ...more
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