Vanishing Smile. Author. Earl Emerson. Format. Mass Market. Language. English. Topic. Mystery & Detective / Hard-Boiled, Mystery & Detective / General. "EMERSON AGAIN DELIVERS THE GOODS, dishing out humor, suspense, and heart-pounding action in heaping portions."--BooklistMarian Wright is an amateur sleuth in the employ of two attractive young women eager to catch up with their no-account. Vanishing Smile (Thomas Black Mysteries) by Emerson, Earl Pages are clean and are not marred by notes or folds of any kind. ~ ThriftBooks: Read More, Spend. DELL UNIVERSAL RECEIVER Otherwise, here field see what's new which Online meeting released, everyone is you may or tasks on which. Vanishing smile emulate the it, APM authorizes added without login. This is to use another device provider of the. Post by Bluedeath techniques coupled with necessary for the license if you how to optimize of your charts ramdisk on w7. Applications in the restart following a compared to teamviewer, initializes the in-memory correct DSCP to to listen on.
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In his work, patience and precision were paramount, and he had perfected both virtues, although he was not a virtuous man. His passport, which had been issued in Argentina, identified him as Eduardo de Valfierno. Although he had used a dozen of the more common Spanish names, this was the alias that cl ung. The surname had been conferred by a caustic acquaintance.
The title was his own addition. In his passport, every page was stamped with visas, indicating that he was both a man of the world and never long in a single place. The contents of his luggage indicated his occupation. The marques passed through New York customs, declaring that he had in his possession one Mona Lisa, and went directly downtown.
The Mauritania was his sixth Atlantic crossing in a year, and on each trip, he had carried a Mona Lisa in his Vuitton luggage. He aroused no suspicion. New mechanical methods of printing were making reproductions ubiquitous, and increasingly, travelers were returning from the Grand Tour with copies of masterworks. If the customs inspectors had been better versed in the traffic of art or the marques less imposing in his demeanor and dress, he might not have sailed through with such ease, because the Mona Lisa he carried was a wood panel apparently of great age, not a painting on canvas.
From the rolled brim of his homburg to the tips of his gray doeskin gloves, the Marques de Valfierno appeared to be a gentleman of means and refinement. Carrying the Vuitton case, the marques entered the stony sanctuary of a downtown bank. The space was as cavernous as a basilica, the atmosphere hushed. In the privacy of a windowless room in a safe-deposit vault, he opened the case, removed the painting, and with extreme care, placed it beside five others.
Each was a flawless fake—an exact and brilliant forgery. His dinner companion would be a man of substance. Clouded in curls of cigar smoke and eased by the finest wines and champagne, the marques would make his irresistible pitch. The scheme itself was a work of art. He would offer, for a kingly price, the most coveted woman in the world. He would confide that his was a rare offer, extended only to the six wealthiest, most discerning men, each a renowned collector of priceless art and beautiful objects.
The offer would never be repeated. Whichever man placed the highest bid would win. Although, as a point of honor, he could not be more specific, in the course of the conversation, certain names were mentioned—Morgan, Mellon, Carnegie, Huntington, Altman. For continental conmen like the marques, separating American magnates from their millions had become an art form and lucrative profession.
Sharks at home, the Americans were innocents abroad—irresistible targets for every kind of scam. None was more clever or daring than the Mona Lisa caper. In the boatyards of Liverpool, a magnificent new ocean liner was under construction. Of these three grand escapades, the first seemed assured of success, the second likely, and the third not only improbable but impossible.
Another scorching day in Paris, ninety-five degrees Fahrenheit, no hint of a breeze, no hope of a shower. The air was close, the sun so blazing that even the carriage horses were wearing straw hats. For more than fifty days, temperatures had rarely dropped below ninety degrees.
The country beyond Paris was burning. Thatch-roofed farmhouses and acres of parched forest had become tinder, and spontaneous-combustion fires broke out near Poitiers, Orleans, and Beaumont, Albertville, Dijon, and Fontainebleau. Within the galleries of the Louvre Museum, even in the late afternoon of August 20, the heat was a physical presence so overwhelming that it trivialized four thousand years of art and history. He was weighed down by the weather and by an unseasonable midday meal.
In everything except name, Paupardin was a simple man who felt elevated in a uniform—first in an army uniform and now in the costume of a Louvre guard. A uniform gave him stature, confidence, a defined place in the world. Out of uniform, he felt diminished. He was ignorant of the history that surrounded him. He knew nothing of the medieval knights in suits of mail who had staved off Anglo-Norman invaders from the parapets of Fortress Louvre or the lusty young kings, Frangois I and Louis XIV, a Valois and a Bourbon respectively, who, imagining Paris as a new Rome, had turned the Louvre fortress into a palace fit for a Caesar.
Paupardin knew only one emperor, the cocky little Corsican and epic pillager, Napoleon Bonaparte. On an average day, several hundred visitors would traipse through the galleries—students, artists, foreign travelers, and Frenchmen from the provinces—but visitors were few on this Sunday afternoon at the end of summer.
An occasional tourist had wandered through from the Grande Galerie, not staying long enough to arouse the guard's interest or register in his memory. He stirred on his stool, his nap arrested. Had a ripple of gas disturbed him, his midday meal returning? Did he catch a sudden whiff of oleander or hear an alien sound? He raised an eyelid. The old guard glanced at them with disdain. They were dressed in their Sunday best, black suits and straw boaters, but no suit could disguise what they were—young working-class men who had immigrated to Paris from the mountain towns of northern Italy looking for work and, more often than not, finding trouble.
There was one other visitor. The boy had returned with flowers. A young Goethe enamored of all things Italian. The guard recognized him, a quintessential German, hair flaxen, eyes ice blue, warmed now by the lust to possess the dark lady. He mooned over her, gazing into her liquid eyes, and she seemed to answer. Eyes are the mirror of the soul, her creator, Leonardo da Vinci, believed. Men had been coming to court her for years, bearing flowers, notes, and poems that Paupardin scooped up and tossed out at the end of the day.
She accepted their attentions democratically but gave nothing in return, just the same half-smile. She conferred it on all equally. A promise, a tease, a warning. No man could be sure. The lovesick boy would return the next day and the day after. Like rival lovers paying suit, the three olive-skinned men watched the German. Their faces gleamed as if in rapture, features shining and dissolving in a heat so oppressive that, if The Victory of Samothrace were sculpted of wax, it would dissolve like the wings of Icarus.
The flowers the boy proffered were already wilting. Paupardin saw the visitors without seeing them, as he saw the paintings without seeing them, the masterpieces of the Louvre collection, each in its place, unchanged for decades.
He was anticipating the next day, Monday, his day of rest, when the museum was closed for cleaning and the staff reduced. The old guard pulled a soiled handkerchief from his pocket to mop his face, and caught her watching him. She was smiling as if she knew he had overindulged at noon and dozed on the job. It was the disconcerting smile of a mother or a mistress. He wiped his face to blot her out and sighed with resignation.
There were no youngsters among the custodians who guarded the patrimony of France. The story could have very easily been a true story with the names changed to make it a fiction book. A lot more characters, which made it hard to keep track, but necessary for the depth of the issue. Feb 18, Andy Plonka rated it liked it Shelves: src. A bit dated due to the subject matter, HIV raising havoc among the main characters, but well thought out and the characters themselves are an interesting bunch.
Nov 12, Bright Boy Books marked it as mountain-loop. View 1 comment. Dec 07, aPriL does feral sometimes rated it liked it Shelves: mysteries-potboilers-thrillers. Although an event I won't go into detail over finally occurred and made me happy I've been waiting for it for at least 4 previous books in the series this book was a little unfocused.
It did not have one emotional buildup, but sort of a series of spikes, with a bunch of tragedies caused by the AIDS epidemic, when getting it meant certain death. On top of the case and the clients and the victims, there was a lot of family drama going on and a rather anticlimactic finish. However, a ton of loose Although an event I won't go into detail over finally occurred and made me happy I've been waiting for it for at least 4 previous books in the series this book was a little unfocused.
However, a ton of loose ends were tidied up very satisfactorily if a bit quickly. Mar 10, Jeff Dickison rated it really liked it. Another good Thomas Black entry. This one is definitely a sign of its time; Thomas and a client try desperately to determine who is spreading aids, thereby killing people. Thomas and Kathy are separated at the beginning of the book, but are book together permanently by the end.
Good going! Jun 29, Glen Templeton rated it it was ok. I usually like Earl Emerson's books quite a bit. This one not so much. There were too many characters that were potentially involved in the mystery that I kept finding myself getting lost. I will continue to read his books, however, since this 2 star book was an aberration for him. Jun 18, Julie rated it liked it.
Three members of a book club decide to look up old boyfriends who did them wrong. Which leads to murder and a good mystery. I liked the main character and recommend for mystery readers. Aug 29, Elizabeth m rated it it was ok Shelves: read-in There were so many characters involved it was hard for me to keep track.
Then again, I read it while on holiday so my mind was also on holiday. A decent mystery. Sep 01, Wanda rated it liked it. Lots of names and connections to keep straight. Enjoyed it. James rated it really liked it Aug 30, Julie rated it liked it Apr 01, Joel T.
Frauenheim rated it it was amazing May 30, Alice Harlson rated it it was amazing Feb 23, Alice rated it liked it Jan 08, Tam Olsont rated it really liked it Dec 02, Debbi Houtz rated it really liked it Apr 19, Karry rated it liked it Apr 22, Grey rated it liked it Aug 01, Cheri Mathisen rated it really liked it Mar 07, Jan rated it it was amazing Apr 29, Tom Spencer rated it really liked it Feb 12, Walt Lynch rated it it was amazing Apr 30, Brian rated it really liked it Jul 06, Kim rated it really liked it Aug 01, Beth Greatorex rated it really liked it Oct 15, Rik Converse rated it really liked it Jul 15, There are no discussion topics on this book yet.
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