The Real Monuments Men

Before the George Clooney movie there was the revealing and definitive book The Monuments Men, by Robert Edsel. I thought the book was fascinating when it was published, and nothing has changed my mind since.

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(Recovered pictures at the Allied sorting facility in Munich)

Edsel is getting a lot of publicity because of the movie, and I hope it’s reflected in his sales and in the prosperity of his Monuments Men Foundation. He did an outstanding interview on Charlie Rose two weeks ago, then was on BookTV last week. He’s scheduled for an appearance sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Sarasota next month.

Parade Magazine published an interview with him in last Sunday’s edition. Of course, I thought the most interesting line in it was, “Probably the single most important painting that’s missing is Raphael’s Portrait of a Young Man, which came from a Museum in Krakow … ”

If you’ve read Treasure of Saint-Lazare, you know it’s all about that painting. It’s the story of a search that spans the Atlantic from Sarasota to Paris and back, and is filled with scenes of romantic walks through Paris and a drive in the Loire Valley — all in the quest to get to the painting and its accompanying trove of Nazi gold. I invite you to try it. Kindle, paperback and audiobook editions are available on Amazon.com, at http://j.mp/UKIVVi, and the paperback is available at Bookstore1Sarasota.

Treasure of Saint-Lazare reached #25 on Amazon’s historical mystery best-seller list and #45 on the Amazon France suspense thriller best-seller list. Thanks to you if you’re one of the readers who got it there.

 

In Paris on a Sunday? Don’t miss dinner chez Patricia

Patricia - Jim Morrison Trib - 2011
PATRICIA LAPLANTE-COLLINS

 

One long-established Paris expat institution Jan and I would never miss on our annual séjour is Patricia Laplante-Collins’s ParisSoirées — Sunday evening gatherings, either at a restaurant or aprivate home, with good food, great conversation, and a whole lot of wine (you can do that in Paris because the public transportation takes you home).

I’ve been the guest speaker at two of the soirées. The first was 2012, just before I published Treasure of Saint-Lazare. I had only a few copies of the advance readers’ copy of my book to give away, and I was surprised (and very gratified) by the warm reception Patricia’s group gave me. My second presentation came during last year’s visit, and if anything the reception was even better than the year before. I was struck by how many French speakers Patricia has been able to attract into her circle. It adds a considerable depth of interest to the evening.

Patricia’s been a Paris expat resident since time out of mind. Her dinners are well known by just about every American who visits, and shouldn’t be missed. It’s a deal for 25€.

The whole thing is done by email. To sign up, go to her website www.parissoirees.com or send an email to parissoirees@gmail.com asking her to add you to the email list.

Here’s a picture taken the evening in 2012 when I discussed the upcoming release of Treasure of Saint-Lazare. Patricia’s party was held in the private dining room of a terrific Indian restaurant.

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Treasure of Saint-Lazare has a sparkling new trailer

NINETY SECONDS of romantic Paris photos and elegant music – is there anyone with soul so dead* they don’t respond to that?

I’m pleased to introduce my new book trailer, full of atmospheric music and unforgettable images of the City of Light. Enjoy.

The other big news of the day is that Bookstore1Sarasota — the most prominent indie bookstore in Sarasota, FL (my home) has begun to stock the book. Sarasota is an important part of the story of Treasure of Saint-Lazare, so I’m hope that more of my neighbors will take advantage of Bookstore1’s outstanding inventory to look at my book, and others as well.

If you live in the area and haven’t read it yet, please buy it from them. (If you want to help create buzz, call and ask if they have it. Can’t hurt. (941) 365-7900.)

  • apologies to Sir Walter Scott

 

A Paris afternoon in Place Saint-Michel, complete with music

Most afternoons when we’re in Paris I take the métro to Place Saint-Michel, the crowded plaza on the Seine across from Notre-Dame cathedral. For a few days before I took this picture and video a well-used upright piano sat ready for amateur pianists, most of whom were of the “chopsticks” variety. But one day the music changed, and we were treated to a real musician:

Pianist-in-Place-Saint-Michel-Paris

I watched a while and caught this short video. Stay with it through the end for a view of the famous fountain.

Then I left to write. When I returned four hours later the piano was gone.

 

Audio version of Treasure of Saint-Lazare is now available

IT’S AVAILABLE – The audio version of Treasure of Saint-Lazare has been released on Audible.com and Amazon.com. You can hear a sample and buy it  at http://j.mp/12mxGb2.

This is the full, unabridged version of the novel as narrated by Tim Campbell, a talented operatic baritone who lives in Pasadena, CA. He’s narrated more than two dozen audio books for Audible.com, and I listened carefully to several of his audition samples before choosing him from among 20 candidates. I’m pleased, and hope you will be, too.

The Kindle and paperback versions of my novel are on this page: http://j.mp/UKIVVi

 

The Passages of Paris

If you’ve made more than one trip to Paris you’ve probably seen some of the famous Passages, the 19th-century indoor shopping centers under glass, which connect one street to another. They were important when they were built because they provided shelter from the rain as well as the mud and mess of pre-pavement Paris.

The City of Paris web site — paris.fr — has an English-language section that features a recent article on the Passages. Go to http://j.mp/X1NdNs for the overview, and from there you can download (PDF) the city’s brochure on the passages.

As an aside, Passage Jouffroy, home to the wax museum, the Hôtel Chopin, a really outstanding teashop and a bunch of antique-book stores, features prominently in the early portion of my novel Treasure of Saint-Lazare. (Amazon: http://j.mp/UKIVVi).

 

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Hotel Chôpin, where my characters escaped from the pursuing Germans

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Le Valentin, tea-room extraordinaire, just down the passage from the Hôtel Chopin. There’s a dining room upstairs, as well