A Cloud of Fraud by Linda Ferreri

Perhaps the suspicion of fraud enhances the flavor. C. S. Forester

More great reviews!

So many thanks to the bloggers who have taken the time to read this book, and then even more time to write genuinely helpful reviews…and I mean helpful to the reader. When they help me, well that’s just the cherry on the sundae, isn’t it?

Here are the latest two. I love them both.




Today, here in Italy, I received some copies of the paperback version of A Cloud of Fraud from Amazon. I don’t know exactly where they were printed, but here they are and I am thrilled to lay my hands upon them. I call them my golden nuggets because the cover is gold.

A word now about covers for on-demand printed books. I honestly cannot say that I love the quality of this one. The design is mine and of course the gorgeous artwork is Carlo Crivelli’s. The painting is a detail of the Magdalene he did that hangs in the Rijksmuseum. It’s the printing and the paper that I’m gently complaining about. I should not do that, but I’m not in love with it.

This is an area where the author with a traditional publisher that will take the time and trouble and expense to print a book beautifully is way out there ahead of everyone else. The price is quite different, too. I realize that. I, however, grew up and went to school with the idea that a book was a special object that deserved respect and treasuring.

All of that having been written, Amazon and self-publishing is a gift to many of us who don’t have the time in life, or the following, to make traditional publishing a possibility. We don’t have agents, either. But we have wonderful stories to tell, as well as we possibly can. So my paperbacks remain my golden nuggets.

A great review

This morning, I just read a review of this book that was all praise. It was not only that, but it showed that the reviewer had read the whole book, paid attention to it, and understood it and its sophistication. There are not words to express how good that felt when I read it and how good it still feels. I cannot thank the reviewer enough, but I surely did write to her. The Literary Apothecary.


Every author has his or her own style of writing and some use words, phrases, expressions, sequences of those, in ways that might be foreign to some readers. Naturally! James Joyce’s writing is uncomfortable for some readers, and so is the Bible. I think it’s part of the reading experience to learn. For me, that includes learning about the voice of the author, or the character who is thinking or speaking right there.

Having spent what seems like my whole life reading about times gone by, I am fascinated by history and sometimes just go there in every way. Old voices, old paintings, old ways of saying things. Love it!

Rose again...

I was asked today to talk about the actors I would want to play this role or that in the film version of A Cloud of Fraud. Nevermind to whom I assigned what. The point is that I’m back, again, to Rose. She’s a powerful character in this book and I am not going to write a spoiler here. I’m just sayin’ ….

Book blog tour

The blog tour for A Cloud of Fraud is well under way now, and I send many thanks to the bloggers who are keen enough to publicize this novel. Self-publishing bring with it the burden of self-publicizing and that is not an easy matter. But how else will a reader find the book? If you think about that question, in this world where running a book shop is close to a labor of love, people are doing their book shopping online and depend on the resources there to find just the right read. I know; I’ve done it.

I think that the idea of one’s shelf or stack full of to-read books is a great idea and we all need some help finding things to put there. One day the mood is this and another day the mood is that. I sometimes think I need an assortment of mood-meeters on that shelf. Bloggers help very much with this because they can call attention to just what a particular book can do for a reader.

Alas, reading all the books out there and then taking the time to write thoughtfully about them is hard work. I know that some bloggers serve up what they have received, and that too is very helpful. Special thanks very much to those of you who do it with care and attention. You are concierges of a sort. There are hungry readers for every book. The job is to connect them to one another.

Italian detectives

Tonight, on British TV (BBC4 I believe), Commissario Montalbano will make a new appearance in a new series of his much loved detectives shows. I love them. And I adored the Aurelio Zen shows, also. There is the wonderful Venetian policeman Commissario Brunetti in Donna Leon’s novels set in Venice. And now we have our own Baldo in the hill town Castello PIceno in Le Marche.

It is the Italian-ness of these detectives that we love most of all. They are brilliant in their work and so lovable in their personal characters. They are so human in all the marvelous ways that Italian people exhibit their humanity.

I’m working now on the next book as the blog tour for A Cloud of Fraud is set to open. My thoughts keep turning to the characters. They drive the story. Even in the Crown of the Andes books, the characters drive the stories. Writing these books is such a joy; it’s a ride along with Baldo.

So I’m going to YouTube to rewatch all the Montalbano shows. Yippee!!

Le Marche

It’s just beautiful here in Le Marche even in the rain we have been having. The rose blossoms hang down outside like gigantic pink cabbages, dripping color and rainwater. It’s inspiration time for the next book, another mystery. Claire is observing something that is a bit “off.”

This weekend, the blog tour for A Cloud of Fraud begins and that is quite exciting for us here. Many thanks to the lovely people at Partners in Crime Tours who organized it, and to all of the reviewers and bloggers who are digging in. We hope it offers readers more information about the author, she who is writing this, and about the story. It’s quite a good one.

While we are at it, many thanks to the readers who have been posting 5-star reviews online. That is tall praise.

Rainy day reads

Here in Le Marche in Italy, the weather this spring has been exceptionally cool and wet. Just today, we had major rain and hail mid-afternoon. Our rose bushes are thriving but we want to get out there in the dirt and it’s mud instead.

So, we just happened upon a discussion about summer reads. This brings up the topic of rainy day reads, also. Those curl-up-with-a-good-book days at all times of the year, especially dark ones. Mysteries are wonderful reads in those deep chair days, whether it’s a beach chair or a fuzzy one near the fireplace. Mysteries and thrillers that grab hold and wind the reader around the plot are satisfying on those days because they do (or should) sweep you away into the tale and offer a jolt of excitement along the way.

We confess to hoping that A Cloud of Fraud will bring loads of mystery readers into their chairs for an engaging read in that chair. If you don’t have a favorite reading chair, think about that please.

Book's out, and Camp

It’s out. The Kindle version of the book is officially for sale now…hooray…and here come the iBooks and paperback versions within hours. This is no small accomplishment for the self-publishing author who does it all while wrapped in hope.

It was said by Susan Sontag that Carlo Crivelli is “camp,” and I see that the Metropolitan Museum of Art has had its great gala now on the theme of “camp.” If all of that elaborate fluff and curl is camp, well then I am all for it. It’s fun, to say nothing of entertaining and beautiful. Certainly, the painting of Mary Magdalene by Carlo Crivelli on the cover of A Cloud of Fraud is all of those. If camp, well then splendid!

We should take a new look at “camp.” And while I’m saying that, I’ll add that it’s a perfect celebration, visually, of the publication of a new story. So, camp!!

Launch on Tuesday

A Cloud of Fraud will be available to buy and read on Tuesday, i.e. two days hence. It’s being released on Amazon as a Kindle book and as a paperback, and on iBooks as a digital book. If you have a mystery-lover in your life, what a nice gift this book will be. Of course, we are very excited and hope that the book will be enjoyed by all readers, and a success. Pre-ordering is possible for the Kindle version.

Many thanks, again, to all the people who have helped so much with this project. This has been an exciting book to write, and to release.

The author is in Le Marche, in Italy, now. The locations are authentic. Hope you have a fun read there.

The Scarlet Pimpernel

I just rewatched the 1982 version of The Scarlet Pimpernel…a gem. But so is the older version, and for both we must thank Baroness Orczy who wrote this delicious story. It’s not necessary for a story to be overloaded with sex and vioilence to be good, engaging, memorable…all of that. People these days seem to be starved for those types of books and movies. They do exist, of course, but I pray for more of them. Romance and chivalry are not dead. Readers need them.


No matter where in Italy the author finds herself, there is inspiration for more writing. It’s in the air. Like many places, it should be approached from the sea rather than from the air as we modern travelers take it. In a gigantic country, approach seems to come from land. But Italy offers every kind of welcome to the navigator. The water alone, with its varied colors in the ranges of green to deep blue, sets the mind afire with ideas of who and what swim there. What gods and goddesses watch us? More ancient Greek ruins are to be found in Italy than in Greece. The perfume of nature awakens the mind as the lemons of Sorrento hang in gigantic clusters from the trees from which they were once plucked by women only, wearing gloves, packed like truffles, one at a time. Every little town, it seems, has a beautiful theater in which the glorious sounds of Italian opera have been sung for centuries. We wonder what lies beyond those gigantic heavy doors as we walk in every street in urban Italy. Every spot sparks the writer’s imagination. We come ashore and wander inland, among the mysteries of the past and the future.

Set in Italy

Like “made in Italy” the term “set in Italy” has a magical effect. Indeed, this novel is set in Italy, except for the parts set in Philadelphia and a few scenes in New York City. That Italy business is real magic because Italy seems to be at the very top of everyone’s bucket list world-wide. That is just as it should be. Italy is luscious, delicious, elegant, everything wonderful-ous.

The set in Italy is a small hill town in the Macerata Province of Le Marche. The hills of Le Marche are, to me, even more beautiful than those in Tuscany. Their colors keep changing as the seasons do and the farmers seed their crops that go from green to yellow to beigh back to green. The rose colors of all the fruits are everywhere.

The medieval hill towns of Le Marche are beloved by tourists who have walked them or cycled their environs. Castello Piceno in the book is a fictitious name but it could be any one of several of the beautiful hill towns in Macerata. The bricks of the buildings there are pink and buff colored and that orange color of Tuscany is turned into a soft color in Le Marche. This is the home of verdicchio, a crisp white wine that is made near Jesi and Matellica. Olive trees are everywhere, alone and in groves. Pecorino is the cheese made from the sheep who graze the hillsides. All of them have a central piazza with a Bar Centrale where Baldo, our beloved police chief, takes his coffee and broods.

So off we go, to Le Marche, tomorrow. More from there soon.

Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene’s “portrait” is on the cover of this book. That is, a painting of Mary Magdalene by Carlo Crivelli. As with paintings of the 15th century and earlier, even later for that matter, she stands there with all of her attributes so that she can be readily identified. Beautiful, long flowing hair, a vessel of prescious ointment, etc. The crime against her was caused by a pope’s message that caused confusion of Mary Magdalene with the sinful Mary of Bethany. It’s been “undone” officially, but how does that ever really happen?

This is only one of so many paintings of one of the great woman of history, one of the many important women in the Bible who have become icons. It hangs by itself in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. I am reminded to mention her, yet again, as Easter was the moment of highest drama in her part of the New Testament. She, like th Mona LIsa, has been written about, talked about, redrawn over and over again. We don’t know Mary Magdalene, but we do know her.

I find it interesting that she is blond. Carlo Crivelli’s beauties are always blonds. He was Venetian…were they all blond there in the 15th century? Worthy of contemplation.

Holy Week Reflection

Here on Good Friday, Passover, the aftermath of the awful fire at Notre Dame during Holy Week… I am reminded of just how much of the most beautiful art in this world has been an offering to God. Art of every medium, really. Architecture, music, dance, and all the rest. Here we have a magnificent of painting of the great player in the Easter drama, Mary Magdalene. The representation of her by Carlo Crivelli is nothing short of heavenly. Many people could ot read in the centuries when stained glass, mosaics and paintings told the Bible’s stories to them. Think, for example, of the great Cathedral of Monreale in Palermo, Sicily, and what an astonishing offering to God that building is. It goes on and on. We have so much for which to be thankful.

Notre Dame fire

Cultural heritage has been my whole life, so the fire at Notre Dame in Paris, yesterday, was a personal blow here. But we are all taking heart in the assurance that it will be rebuilt and knowing that it, like many other great monuments, has seen dark times before and survived them. I find great comfort in listening to the recordings—aplenty—of magnificent musical compositions being played on the Great Organ of Notre Dame, my favorite being the famous Widor toccata from his 5th Symphony. May that great, great voice sing again for all the world!

Blog tour coming up

I am quite honored to have 20 bloggers so far keen to talk about this novel. They will start in late May and run through June, with one in November and a 1-hour radio podcast interview. This is exciting new. There is no way for readers to find self-published books without others talking about them, a lot. I don’t love talking about myself and so a blogger who is interested is a huge gift to me. And to their devoted followers and readers who depend upon their book recommendations. Hooray for them. And a big hooray for Partners in Crime Tours who are organizing the whole blog tour.


In Italy, I do a huge amount of my writing among my roses in Le Marche. I’m trying to add a photo of some of them in this blog post…we’ll see how that goes. I think it’s not going to work. That’s a pity.

Rose is not named Rose in this novel because of my roses. There’s another reason for her name. But it so happens that Rose is one of my favorite characters and her name calls up a bouquet of images. One blogger asked about Rose. I’ll leave the answer where it lies. Once you read the novel, we can discuss Rose!!

A rose garden is a rather unusual place in which to draw inspiration for a mystery or a thriller. You might say that. I could admit that. But there are the unexpected thorns…a little critter with a stinger…the unwelcome beetle in the center of the blossom. Little surprises, in other words. That works beautifully.

In the novel that I am sketching out now, there is a female lead character who bears the name of another of my favorite flowers. That Victorian habit of naming girls for flowers should come back.

More than just art crimes

I have written several books, and illustrated a few, that have nothing to do with art crime. Sometimes, I like them best. My first novella The King of UNINI (LuLu) is a sophisticated fairy tale set in Paris. It’s wonderful fun and just flies by like a bowl full of whipped cream. All women who work should read it. And then there are my illustrated iBooks like All Purpose Muses and Do You See the Bee? Love them all, because they are my babies!!

A date!

The book is now ready for presale on iBooks with the publication date being May 7. The Amazon paperback and the Kindle version will be the same. Hooray!