Saturday, August 26, 2023

Murder in Trastevere by Jen Collins Moore | Book Tour with Guest Post and Giveaway


Murder in Trastevere: A Roman Holiday Mystery by Jen Collins Moore

About Murder in Trastevere

Murder in Trastevere: A Roman Holiday Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting - Rome, Italy
Level Best Books (May 18, 2023)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 286 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1685123384
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1685123383
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0C13DRJQN

After a decade dominating the expat scene in Rome, Faye Masters has had enough beautiful art, delicious food, and bureaucratic nonsense to last a lifetime. She’s just about decided to pack up and head home when a rival drops dead at one of Faye’s famous cocktail parties. Rumors fly that Faye was the intended target, but the police think Faye might just be an attention-seeking poisoner.

Faye refuses to let the cloud of suspicion stop her from completing a self-imposed 25-picture Caravaggio Challenge. Or keep her from assisting friends Maggie White and Thomas Evans on their painting tours of Rome. But when the leads fizzle out and a series of accidents hit close to home, Faye accepts her own life is on the line. She must search for a killer while keeping up appearances at some of Rome’s most iconic sights.

About the Guest Post by Jen Collins Moore

Caravaggio was a murderer and other fun facts

By Jen Collins Moore

My detective in Murder in Trastevere has more on her plate than solving a murder. She’s also on a mission to see all the Caravaggios in Rome. Faye Masters is at loose ends, looking for a project that will bring her closer to her acquaintances.  She decides on a quest, because when you’re making plans, it’s always more fun to have a mission. 

Why Caravaggio? The painter was stunningly productive, creating an estimated ninety masterpieces before his death at age thirty-two. He spent his professional life in Rome, resulting in plenty of work for Faye and her friends to see.

When she begins the Caravaggio quest, Faye wants her friends to think she’s an expert, so she studies up. She learns the artist was born seven years after Michelangelo died. (Think late Renaissance.) He earned A LOT of commissions from the Catholic church, which was busy pumping out art as part of the counter reformation movement in the fifteen and sixteen hundreds.

His work was moody and gloomy and celebrated the most humble members of humanity. Important, certainly, but not the type of art most of us would choose for our living rooms. But the best Caravaggio paintings are still breathtaking today. That’s because he pioneered a technique where he gave a spotlight effect to his subject and put everything else into shadow. It was completely different from anything that had come before and, even today, is clearly something special.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that the revolutionary artist was also a difficult person. After all, going against the grain takes a certain “don’t care” attitude. It’s well established that Caravaggio had a short temper and willingness to fight. He faced trial more than ten times for crimes ranging from swearing at a constable to scarring a guard. And that was before he killed a man in an illegal duel, went on the lam, and fought with the very people who were giving him shelter. Nice guy, right?

I created a fictitious book, Caravaggio: Brash, Brutish, and Brilliant, for Faye to be reading. Here are some highlights from the pompous tome:

“Caravaggio’s art shows life as it is, complete with torn clothing and dirty feet. This unsettling realism creates a connection between viewer and subject that was previously unknown and is, even today, totally captivating.”

“Caravaggio rose from tragic roots. The bubonic plague wiped out his family, leaving him destitute and alone. Could he have achieved success without that childhood adversity? One suspects not.”

“One of Caravaggio’s first jobs was filling in the fruit and flowers in another artist’s work. Caravaggio’s thoughts about his employer outsourcing in this manner have not been recorded.”

“Caravaggio’s peers made detailed drawings before beginning to paint. Caravaggio rejected this methodical approach and began his work directly on his canvases. Contemporaries labeled this reckless, but historians agree it gave his paintings a spontaneity virtually unknown at the time. “

“Caravaggio frequently produced multiple paintings of a single subject. Modern viewers might wonder what drew the artist back to the theme again and again. Caravaggio’s rationale was more pragmatic: there were collectors willing to buy.”

“The Knights of Malta gave Caravaggio shelter when he was on the run, even making him a member of their order. But true to form, the painter fought with a fellow member and found himself exiled once again.”

“Caravaggio sent paintings to powerful friends in hopes that they would use their influence to win him a papal pardon for his crime. No pardon was ever given.”

“Caravaggio died at age thirty-eight. Whether it was from syphilis, malaria, lead poisoning, or an infected wound remains the subject of debate.”

“Caravaggio faded into obscurity after his death. It wasn’t until the early 20th Century that art lovers rediscovered the power of his work. Would anything have irked this painter more than being ignored for two hundred years?”

Learning about Caravaggio’s life gives Faye the insights she needs to put the pieces together and solve the crime in Murder in Trastevere. No, she doesn’t spot a clue in a long-ago painting that points to a modern-day crime a la Da Vinci Code. But she does learn about human nature.

It’s easy today to imagine people in the past as completely different from ourselves, but that can’t be further from the truth.


About Jen Collins Moore

Jen Collins Moore transports readers to Rome in the Roman Holiday Mysteries. Her short fiction has appeared in Mystery Weekly and Masthead: The Best New England Crime Stories. She is president of Sisters in Crime Chicagoland and a founding member of Sleuths and Sidekicks. A transplanted New Englander, she lives in Chicago with her husband and two boys.

Author Links

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Tour Participants
August 14 – Baroness Book Trove – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
August 14 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee – SPOTLIGHT
August 15 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
August 15 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST
August 16 – Guatemala Paula Loves to Read – REVIEW
August 16 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
August 17 – Christy's Cozy Corners – REVIEW, AUTHOR GUEST POST
August 18 – Maureen's Musings – SPOTLIGHT
August 18 – Sapphyria's Book Reviews - SPOTLIGHT
August 19 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
August 19 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST
August 20 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT
August 21 – Mystery, Thrillers, and Suspense – SPOTLIGHT
August 22 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
August 23 – Novels Alive - REVIEW
August 24 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
August 25 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
August 26 – Jane Reads – AUTHOR GUEST POST
August 27 – StoreyBook Reviews – RECIPE

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