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A Painting to Die For

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Jenna risks her life to stop a group of art thieves from snatching a masterpiece stolen during World War II
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Author: Joan Curtis
Description

Jenna’s quiet weekend turns upside down when she returns home to find her house totally ransacked, and the police uncover a dead body with her name in its possession. Meanwhile her long-lost cousins show up on her doorstep with stories about stolen paintings, hidden masterpieces—worth millions, Mafia friends, and much more.

While Jenna questions the motives of her dead father in connection to the stolen art, the police find a second body with Jenna’s name in its possession, and she becomes the primary suspect in two murder inquiries. Sidestepping the police and dodging the mob, she and her best friend, Quentin, embark on their own investigation to save themselves and Jenna’s lying, double-crossing cousins from untimely deaths.

A Painting to Die For forms a web of deceit that leaves Jenna doubting everything she believes about her father and his Italian family.

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Title A Painting to Die For
Series A Jenna Scali Mystery Book #3
Author Joan C. Curtis
Genre Cozy Mystery
Release December 12, 2017
Length e-Book 291pages ~ Paperback 256 pages
ISBN e-Book 978-1-77127-956-7 ~ Paperback 978-1-77127-967-3
Price e-Book $5.99 ~ Paperback coming soon
Designer Eerilyfair Design
Tags Art, World War II, Mafia, Crime, Murder, College Town, Cozy, University, Art Theft, Caravaggio, Alfred Sisley, Flood at Port-Marly, Italy, cats, Caserta, Dekalb County Georgia, Athens Georgia, Art history,

Excerpt

The sweat on Joey’s upper lip glistened.

Stalin jumped from the top of the couch to the table and landed with a thump. Joey leapt from the chair and uttered a cry.

I grabbed the cat and held him on my lap. “You’re mighty jumpy, Joey.”

Toni laughed. “Joey’s just a little edgy about all that’s been going on. He’s dreading telling Mom.”

“More like scared out of my wits,” Joey said. He wiped the sweat from his lip with the back of his hand and shot me a restless look. “Let’s keep Mom out of this till we find the painting. You don’t know her the way we do.”

“Okay, then, so, what’s the plan? What is it you want me to do?”

“We only wanted you to know,” Toni said. “Joey and I will stay with Lena for a week or so till everything blows over. And while there, we can go through these papers and maybe uncover more about that missing art.”

“Hmm. Didn’t you say you wanted me to help find the Sisley? I’m much more interested in that than what might be hiding behind the frame. So, how can I help?”

“Really, there’s nothing you can do. We just thought since the painting was—you know—technically yours, we needed to tell you face-to-face,” Toni answered.

“Why come all this way just to tell me about it? That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. You could’ve done that on the phone.” Hello, y’all called me in the dead of night, full of hysteria and now you say everything’s cool? No way.

“What have we ever done that made sense?” Toni said with a laugh.

Joey shook his head. “We don’t really need you to help us find out who took the painting because I pretty much know who did. We just wanna stay low till we figure how to get it back.”

“And how do you intend to do that? I’m confused. So, you think Stephen took the painting? I thought he was such a good friend. Why would he steal your painting?”

“I didn’t say Stephen took it,” Joey said, looking to Toni as if for help. “I just have my suspicions about where it is, and it’s best for us to disappear for a little while so we can make a plan.”

“But you just said you know who took it. If not Stephen, then who? And how will ‘laying low’ help you find it?” They sure weren’t telling me everything, and it didn’t look as if they planned to.

“Joey thinks he knows who took it,” Toni jumped in, “but he’s not sure.”

“Besides, they might come back,” Joey added. “Maybe they think we have more paintings. Who knows? It’s just safer for everyone if we’re gone. Debbie took the baby to her mom’s and—”

“They? Who are they?”

“The thieves,” Joey said in an exasperated tone. Clearly he was tired of my questions.

“So after a week, you think everything will blow over and the painting will just reappear?”

Toni lifted herself from the couch. “That’s the idea. Now show me your pasta maker. I’ll whip up some fresh pasta tonight for us. We don’t need to go out in this messy weather.”

Pasta maker? “There’s a package of dried spaghetti in the cabinet. That’s about the best—”

“What kind of Italian are you?” She laughed. “That’ll have to do. I can make Grandma’s sauce. I gotta hop to it ’cause it needs to simmer at least an hour and Neal’ll be hungrier than a bear soon.” She made her way into the kitchen and began searching through the pantry for tomatoes, oregano and basil. “Do you have any fresh mushrooms?” She stood in front of my fridge with the door open.

Stalin placed himself at attention at her foot, hoping for a mid-day snack.

“This fridge looks like it belongs to an anorexic.” She turned to me. “And by the looks of you, it does.”

“Sorry, I planned to go shopping this afternoon.” But, of course, my day was shot—cleaning, preparing for my unexpected guests.

Before I knew it, the kitchen looked as if a tornado hit it. She and Joey chopped, stirred, and stood over boiling pots. Opened cans, dishes, bowls and more cooking utensils than I’d ever used before covered every conceivable space. The sweet smell of garlic and basil filled my small house.

Apparently, they thought they had told me enough and decided it was time to get down to the important business, dinner.

Quentin stayed to eat with us. We had a grand ol’ time talking about everything except stolen paintings. He left at eleven o’clock after helping to set up the sleeping bags, pulling out the couch, and assisting Neal with the inflatable mattress.

At midnight, before la-la land and sleep overtook me, a creak sounded from the living room, doors opened and closed. Whispers and shushes. Another creak above my head, as if someone were in the attic. Impossible. Finally, sleep captured me along with dreams of my grandfather smuggling stolen art across the Atlantic.

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