Liz Tolsma’s Slashed Canvas is the final book in Celebrate Lit’s Ever After Mysteries series, and it’s available TODAY! To celebrate, we are doing a fun little blog hop asking the question: Who stole the painting of the Russian Princess from the Louvre? There will be a new post every day. Don’t miss any! #becauseprizes
Let’s start right off by getting one thing clear: I did not steal the stupid painting. My décor is more “country chic” than “stuffy and snooty.” It would clash with everything I own. I’m sure the Russian Princess was lovely, but I don’t want her in my living room.
Explaining that to the gendarmerie in my high school-level French was difficult. He looked confused, even when I showed him my Instagram account – dozens of pictures of quilts decorating every room of my house. Not an oil painting in sight – just a few crayon sketches by my gifted grandchildren. Much nicer than a dusty old painting of someone I don’t even know, by someone else I don’t know.
Finally, he announced that he spoke English. I admit that his English was better than my French, but… well, it was probably inevitable. I’ve watched too many silly old movies, and when he demanded, “What do you have in that bag?”, in that accent, I… well, I giggled. I clapped a hand over my mouth, but it was no good. I’d seen Inspector Clouseau ask that question, in just that voice, in the theater, on a VCR rental, on a DVD and streamed from Netflix. I refrained from telling him it was neither high heels nor pumps, mostly because I couldn’t stop giggling. He’d probably never seen a Pink Panther movie, anyhow.
He grabbed my bag and dumped it out on the desk. I stopped giggling. Two balls of yarn, knitting needles, a bulky journal and a dozen felt-tip markers, reading glasses, driving glasses, sunglasses… No painting. Nothing big enough to conceal a painting. The yarn, needles and some of the markers rolled to the floor, and I picked them up, snatched my bag back and started shoving things into it.
“Your accomplice must have the painting,” the man said belligerently. “You distracted me so she could take it.”
“Accomplice?” I hoisted the bag to my shoulder. “What accomplice?”
“That woman you spoke to in the art gallery. The elegant one with the titian curls and stylish eyeglasses.” He sneered at my denim skirt and handknit cardigan. “The fashionable one.”
“Oh, that would be April.” It had been odd running into her here. She lives in California, and I’m in Minnesota, so I usually only see her at writers’ conferences. “She’s not my accomplice. I don’t even know her. Not really. I mean, we’ve done a few online projects together, but…”
“April.” He whipped out a notebook and pencil. “And her surname?”
I eyed him, annoyed, tempted to make something up. April Showers, maybe. Surely there were people named Showers somewhere.
“What is her surname, Madam?” His voice was louder, which made his accent seem even stronger, but his resemblance to Inspector Jacques Clouseau was no longer entertaining.
“Hayman. April Hayman. I’m sure she didn’t take your picture, though.”
He scribbled in his notebook and slid it back into his jacket pocket. “She cannot hide from me. I will find her, no matter how she hides.” If he’d had a moustache, he would have twirled the end of it.
“She’s not hiding,” I snapped. “Google her. Look her up on Amazon. She’s on social media. She’s got a website, for goodness’ sake!”
“Right now,” the man said with an odious smirk, “she is in Paris. I will find her, and she will confess all. And it is not a picture, you ignorant American. It is a painting, and it is a treasure. We must recover it. I will recover it.”
“Go for it. Can I leave now?”
“Oui.” He waved a dismissive hand toward the door. “Go. I will find this April Hayman and retrieve the painting.”
I waited until I got outside before pulling out my phone to send April a message and then paused, suddenly uncertain. What if she really had taken the painting? As I’d told the policeman, I didn’t know her very well at all. Finally, I tapped out: Louvre police want to talk to you about a missing princess. I’m not sure if it was a warning or an accusation, but what else could I say? All I know is that I didn’t steal it.
Go check out what April has to say for herself HERE. Maybe she has an alibi. Or maybe she stole the painting. It wasn’t me.
Then, enter to win a prize!
Click HERE to enter!
Grand Duchess Katarina Volstova barely escaped the Russian revolution, arriving in Paris just before the birth of her twin daughters. With her heart still captive in her homeland, she haunts the Louvre each day, spending hours gazing at one painting, lost in her pain.
Not the man he once was, Timothy Smythe never returned home to England after the Great War. Instead, he hides himself away doing maintenance in the Louvre and watching the beautiful woman whose pain seems riveted on one painting.
When Katarina returns home to find her daughters and their nanny missing, the loss opens her eyes to all she has to lose now.
Frantic to find her girls, her distress causes Timothy to offer his assistance. Together they put together clues to a puzzle they must complete before the kidnapper ensures Katarina and her daughters are never reunited.
Slashed Canvas offers a retelling of The Lost Princess that mingles self-centered grief, spoiled little girls, and proof that nothing will stop a mother from saving her children.
Get your copy of Slashed Canvas today, hot off the presses (or downloaded to your Kindle, of course). It’s even available in the Kindle Unlimited library! Then visit the other authors’ websites and enjoy their stories. Enter to win prizes!
April Hayman – Feb 2
Denise Lauren Barela – Feb 3
Sandy Barela – Feb 4
Rebekah Jones – Feb 5
Liz Tolsma – Feb 6
Marji Laine – Feb 7
Chautona Havig – Feb 8
Have you read all of the Ever After Mysteries yet?
All the books in this series are so fun! They’re 1920’s mystery novels inspired by fairy tales, written by Chautona Havig, Marji Laine, April Hayman, Cathe Swanson, Rebekah Jones, Denise Barela, and Liz Tolsma!
Find more information about my contribution, Murder at the Empire, HERE. Happy reading!