Olsson's Book Bits

by Greta Olsson

Stealing the Mystic Lamb, the True Story of the World's Most Coveted Masterpiece
by Noah Charney
Copyright 2010
Hardcover, 288 pages
ISBN: 978-1-58648-800-O

Noah Charney dedicated this book to his beloved wife and to his beloved dog. He also wrote a novel called The Art Thief, which gives "fascinating details about Caravaggio and Vermeer, the lucrative business of art forgery and the sophisticated thieves who steal priceless paintings." USA Today

"Descriptively brilliant." "Clever and addictive..." "Thrilling literary page-turner..." "An intricate web of crime...an enthralling novel."

Jan van Eyck's Ghent Altarpiece is on any art historian's list of the ten most important paintings ever made. It is also the most frequently stolen artwork of all time.

"Since its completion in 1432, the twelve-panel oil painting has been looted in three different wars, burned, dismembered, forged, smuggled, illegally sold, censored, hidden, attacked by iconoclasts, used as a diplomatic tool, ransomed, hunted by the Nazis and Napoleon, rescued by Austrian double-agents, and stolen thirteen times." The most amazing fact is not that Napoleon, Goring, and Hitler all tried for it, but that its 12 oak panels weigh two tons. No one man could carry it. A team is always needed, and no one can hide even one panel under his coat.

Charney's account is a fascinating mystery. How this work survived being shipped to various countries and being buried in an Italian cave is beyond belief. How the clergy risked their lives to hide such a large work in their cathedral is a wonder. The Belgians love of their greatest treasure is underlined throughout Charney's work. I'm anxious to read his The Art Thief.

Charney knows how to tell a marvelous story.

Pure Murder by Corey Mitchell
Copyright 2008
Paperback 377 pages
ISBN: 13: 978-O-7860-1851-2

To save time and avoid being late, two pretty young teen-age girls, Elizabeth, age 16, and Jennifer, 14, took a short cut along the railroad tracks and met with some wild young boys who raped and murdered them. The boys had too much alcohol and rage.

"At first, the teenage boys grabbed Elizabeth, while Jennifer escaped. But Elizabeth's desperate cries brought Jennifer back to help her best friend. Both girls were subjected to sexual assaults of every conceivable kind...and long, painful, drawn-out deaths."

Foolishly the boys bragged openly about what they had done. They were caught, but the families of the victims were in for a horrible surprise. "In this terrifying case, justice would be a torturous journey..." One fourteen-year-old turned state's witness on the promise that he would get a much reduced sentence. That promise was not kept. Only two boys were found guilty at first. It took too long to get a conviction against them all. The trial and getting justice were the main part of the book. I'd give the work a C+. The story certainly had an interesting twist.

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