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Blog Tour and Book Excerpt for "The London Forgery"



Book Title: The London Forgery

Series: A Fabiola Bennett Mystery

Author: Heidi Eljarbo

Publication Date: 29th August 2023

Publisher: self-published

Page Length: about 252

Genre: Historical Mystery / dual timeline historical fiction



The London Forgery

A Fabiola Bennett Mystery

Heidi Eljarbo


Blurb:


1973. Art historian Fabiola Bennett sees herself as a prudently observant deer who becomes a daring and even mischievous lioness if the situation calls for it. And that’s exactly what’s required when greedy criminals steal, forge, and tamper with treasured artwork. When the crooks add murder to their list of crimes, the chaos is complete.

A mysterious note is delivered anonymously at the door of the National Gallery in London, and the director immediately calls Fabiola’s office in Oslo and pleads with her to come without delay. The message is confusing, but it seems one of her favorite eighteenth-century portraits is in trouble.

Fabiola hops on the first plane and meets up with her vibrant side-kick Pippa Yates and the ever-loyal Detective Inspector Cary Green from New Scotland Yard. But she is not naïve enough to think untangling the purpose and meaning of the mysterious note will be as simple as a walk in Hyde Park. These things never are.

1750. Newly married Robert and Frances Andrews, members of the landed gentry of Suffolk, England, hire young and talented Thomas Gainsborough to paint their wedding portrait. Their desire is a lovely conversation piece showing their wealth and class, an artwork to remember them by for generations to come.

Little do they know the gifted artist portrays their personalities exactly how he perceives them, and the artistic symbolism is not as flattering as they’d hoped for. Even the looming clouds in the distance promise a troublesome future.

This is the first book in a new dual timeline series by Heidi Eljarbo—an intriguing spin-off from the much-loved Soli Hansen Mysteries.

Fans of Lucinda Riley, Rhys Bowen, Kathleen McGurl, Kate Morton, and Katherine Neville will love this cozy historical art mystery, which takes the readers back to the nostalgia of the groovy seventies and the classical Georgian era of the eighteenth century.


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This title is available to read on #KindleUnlimited




Author Bio:



Heidi Eljarbo is the bestselling author of historical fiction and mysteries filled with courageous and good characters that are easy to love and others you don't want to go near.

Heidi grew up in a home filled with books and artwork and she never truly imagined she would do anything other than write and paint. She studied art, languages, and history, all of which have come in handy when working as an author, magazine journalist, and painter.

After living in Canada, six US states, Japan, Switzerland, and Austria, Heidi now calls Norway home. She and her husband have fifteen grandchildren—so far—in addition to a bouncy Wheaten Terrier.

Their favorite retreat is a mountain cabin, where they hike in the summertime and ski the vast, white terrain during winter.

Heidi’s favorites are family, God's beautiful nature, and the word whimsical.


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Book Excerpt:


CHAPTER ONE


London, 1973


THE MORNING FOG had cleared by the time Fabiola stepped out of the black cab on Trafalgar Square.


“Thank you,” she said as she grabbed her small suitcase and leather shoulder bag and stepped onto the pavement to pay the fare through the driver’s window.


“Have a pleasant day, luv.” The driver put the car in gear and eased between a red double-decker bus and another taxi.


Fabiola turned and looked up at the towering column of Admiral Nelson. Four impressive lions at the base embodied the admiral’s heroism. In fact, the whole square was created to commemorate the British victory against Napoléon’s navy on the southwest coast of Spain. Fabiola knew the plaza with its fountains, steps, and statues like the back of her hand. She must have been there a thousand times. She gave the admiral a quick nod as if greeting an old acquaintance, then took a deep breath and headed toward the commanding, neoclassic building. The National Gallery was the main reason she frequented London. Whether she visited in the role of an experienced art historian or of a citizen tourist who’d come to stroll from room to room and delight in six hundred years of artwork, Fabiola grinned every time she walked up to the main entrance with the soaring Corinthian pillars.


The museum director, a white-haired gentleman nearing retirement age, stood to the side in the main hall as she entered. With his hands clasped behind his back, he seemed to be watching the visitors streaming through the doors. He acknowledged Fabiola’s approach with a tilt of his head, then came toward her, his hand outstretched. Fabiola set her suitcase down and greeted him.


“Ah, Mrs. Bennett, there you are, suitcase in hand.”


“Mr. Wilson. How are you? You made it sound urgent, so I came straight from Heathrow.”

“I was at my wit’s end, so I called our favorite art expert.” Mr. Wilson bent down and grabbed the suitcase. “Here, let me carry this for you.” Inclining his head toward the office area, he added, “We must speak in private.”


Fabiola followed him to his spacious office on the north side of Trafalgar Square. He put the suitcase down and indicated for her to take a seat opposite his messy oak desk. Tidiness was not exactly Mr. Wilson’s forte, but he was a dedicated museum manager and loyal art enthusiast.


He sat in a substantial Chesterfield chair, pushed a pile of papers aside, and leaned forward with his elbows on the table. “My apologies, Mrs. Bennett. I am more disorganized than normal.”


She smiled. “Not to worry. And please, call me Fabiola. We have gotten to know each other well enough.”


“Yes, so we have.” He loosened the narrow black tie around his neck and then wiped his forehead with a handkerchief he pulled from his pocket. “I apologize for the hasty invitation, but I’m afraid I haven’t slept much since I received the note.”


“Note?”


Mr. Wilson hadn’t mentioned anything about a note in his phone call. Now he spoke as if she already knew.


He sighed. “Yes, and, mind you, this isn’t necessarily something that just happened. I mean, anything is possible. But we must consider every angle and option.”


The words came out disordered and disconnected, as though his thoughts were as messy and cluttered as the top of his desk.


“And we shall, Mr. Wilson. But first, tell me about the note…what does it say?”


The director held up a piece of stationary while he read. “What is amiss with Mr. and Mrs. Andrews?”


A dozen misgivings immediately formed in her mind. No one would send a message like that without a reason.


“Do those words tell you anything?” He gave her a pleading stare as if she’d already conjured up an answer.


Fabiola’s mouth went dry. Thomas Gainsborough’s masterpiece Mr. and Mrs. Andrews hung upstairs hangs in the main collection in room thirty-five. Half a dozen worst-case scenarios rushed through her mind. Amiss could mean many things, and the worried look on Mr. Wilson’s face didn’t help at all.


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1 Comment


Cathie Dunn
Cathie Dunn
Sep 11, 2023

Thank you for hosting Heidi Eljarbo today!


Cathie xo

The Coffee Pot Book Club

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