Stealing Mona Lisa
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Stealing Mona Lisa

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  473 ratings  ·  115 reviews
A Kirkus Reviews' Best of 2011 Fiction and a Library Journal Best Mystery of 2011What 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...more
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 — 173 voters
Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskeyWinnie-the-Pooh by A.A.  MilneAnne of Green Gables by L.M. MontgomeryVampire Academy by Richelle MeadMoby-Dick; or, The Whale by Herman Melville
Authors With A Last Name Starting With "M"
328th out of 701 books — 33 voters

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Community Reviews

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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!
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!
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...more
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
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...more
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...more
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...more
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
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...more
Katharine Ott
"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
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...more
Pat Jennings
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?
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
Jun 27, 2011 Joe rated it 4 of 5 stars
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....more
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
I was happily surprised that how much I enjoyed this book. This period novel built around the events surrounding the theft of the Mona Lisa in the Louvre. Some of the events and personalities in the novel were directly from the true event. Other characters were made up for artistic enhancements. The author also move other events in that time period to create drama in the novel.
I'm willing to give the author's artistic liberty because the plot works. It was entertaining and still somewhat educat...more
Sep 05, 2011 Jacque rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
This book was interesting. I found it to be a little slow for my taste. I had trouble staying with the plot of the book. I did like the book, but it was not as good as other mysteries I had read.

The plot was centered around telling the story of how the Mona Lisa was stolen from the museum and how it was returned. I found this to be interesting. It allowed me to think about something that had happened in history without having to be a true story.

I appreciate that this author wanted to write the b...more
I won this book from Goodreads and it arrived in the mail this week!!! Super excited!
Quite a fun and exciting romp taking you from the streets of Buenos Aires to the museums and boulevards of Paris with a side-step to the mansions of America's elite nouveau riche. This story of grand art theft was woven spectacularly with the growing interconnections of the main characters. A few times there were details presented that did not seem to fit in unless you were piecing them together within the story...more
This was recommended to me by a library patron. I liked it enough. I do like conjecture stories -- where very little is known about an actual historical event, and the author creates a wild story about what really happened. This one is about the theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911, which really happened. They even know two of the men involved, but that's where the real story ends and the author picks up the narrative. He fills it with a pickpocket con-woman, a greedy railroad baron, a...more
Empecé a leerlo con reservas, pero luego me ha ido enganchando la historia. Me ha gustado bastante.
I thought this was a pretty cheesy depiction of how the Mona Lisa was stolen in 1910. I felt that the book lacked any real feeling of suspense. I also felt that the dialogue was pretty shallow. I felt that the dialogue and the characters were a little too modern for those that would have essentially lived during the Victorian Age.

Overall, it was more of a "fun" read for me. I would probably give it more like 2.5 stars because I read it to the end and it does inspire me to learn more about the M...more
This book was a lovely little mystery, a blend of fact and fiction. The story line keeps you interested all the way through the book. The characters are very well developed. It is interesting to see how this group of people come together. Each charactor has an interesting history that will delight the reader. The interaction between the male and female characters in the con group, will bring a smile at times. This was a Goodreads first reads win and is very worthy of recommendation. I definitely...more
I really enjoyed this historical mystery. Based on the real theft of the famous painting in 1911, Carson Morton creates an entertaining story full of descriptive detail of old Paris and full of an interesting cast of characters. It was a little reminicent of the movie "Ocean's Eleven" but more romantic given it's historical setting. I wasn't suprised to discover that the author usually writes screenplays because reading this fun caper was like watching a movie. Lot's of action. Easy, flowing dia...more
Barbara Ell
As he lays dying, can one of the greatest art con men in the world finally tell his tale of the theft of the Mona Lisa? With his "gang," which includes his protege, an orphaned Parisian street urchin; an American pick-pocket who attached herself to them in Argentina; an American whose husband had been conned into buying many pieces of "art"; a Parisian landlady and an Italian patriot, the group pulls off the greatest heist in the Louvre. Based on the true theft, and with the many twists and turn...more
I finished this book in three days. The plot was that interesting to me. But, I have to say that my attention started to drift near the end. The main romance seemed pretty contrived and there were a few scenes ripped straight from the romantic comedy playbook. But! I enjoyed it for the most part. As I said, the plot was very engaging for most of the book and I thought that a lot of the characters were pretty well developed. I wouldn't really call it a mystery, though, as it's from the perspectiv...more
Intriguing and wonderfully written--more of an historical fiction book than a mystery to me. It is based on the actual theft of the "Mona Lisa" from the Louvre c.1910. I liked the various locations(from Argentina to the United States to France)that served as setting and I enjoyed the character development. A few unexplained events and a lost character or two but a very intriguing novel. Makes you wonder if Leonardo's "Mona Lisa" is the one actually hanging on the walls of the Louvre or if it is...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A highly entertaining tale with more twists than a Chubby Checker rerun! I liked the true historical aspect of the book as well. Between all the forgeries, I'm still not 100% sure where the real Mona Lisa ended up. I really liked Edourdo de Valifierno and his motley crew. I always figure the writer did a great job drawing up a character if I find my self on the 'villan's' side. I thought the best twist of all was that (view spoiler)...more
This book was on the new mystery shelf at library, and I took it out for the cover! What a great surprise! The book is based on the true story of the theft of the Mona Lisa in 1911. The fictional part is the characters. The book grabbed me from page one to the surprise ending. I pictured this as a movie as it has everything - murder, comedy, action. The characters are very likeable and u r compelled to cheer them on! Like this author very much. Hopefully he'll write another book.
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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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