Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Stephanie Kane | OBJECT LESSONS + Giveaway!
Author Guest / October 15, 2021

OBJECT LESSONS was inspired by an eccentric Chicago heiress named Frances Glessner Lee. In the 1940’s, Lee designed 18 miniature models of crime scenes to train police investigators. Built to the scale of one inch to one foot, and complete with tiny victims, Lee’s dioramas are enigmas begging to be solved. Here are Lily Sparks’ favorites: 1: Three-Room Dwelling: Robert and Kate Judson, and their baby Linda Mae, are shot to death in their tidy little house. Their phone is off the hook, the table’s set for breakfast, the murder weapon—a rifle—is on the kitchen floor, and both doors are locked from inside. 2: Attic: Miss Jessie Comptom, a spinster, hangs from a rafter in her attic. Old letters and other relics of her past are scattered beneath her. One shoe dangles from her foot; its mate is on the stairs. 3: Dark Bathroom: Maggie Wilson lies face-up in a bathtub in a rooming house. Fully clothed, she appears to have fallen in backward. She had two male visitors that night, and there’s a liquor bottle on the floor. 4: Kitchen: Mrs. Robin Barnes lies on her kitchen floor. The stove’s gas jets are open, and her face has a rosy…

Stephanie Kane | Five Hopper Paintings and the Story They Tell
Author Guest / October 15, 2020

Mid-century American realist painter Edward Hopper is celebrated for Nighthawks, his 1947 work in which customers in an all-night diner are viewed through a plate glass window lit by a neon light, and his 1927 Automat, where a girl in a cloche and fur-trimmed coat gazes pensively into a coffee cup in a lonely cafeteria. Hopper returned to that enigmatic woman again and again. He painted her throughout his career. In AUTOMAT, Denver Art Museum Conservator of Paintings Lily Sparks pursues a killer who targets actresses who bring Hopper’s works to life. Lily’s perfect eye tells her the man in Hopper’s paintings also holds clues to the killer’s identity. And just as the famous artist kept painting the same iconic woman, the killer must keep killing her. Five top Hopper paintings convince Lily she’s on the right track. Hopper started out illustrating trade magazine covers. In 1906, on his first trip to Paris, he painted the watercolor Couple near Poplars. In the style of the day, a Gibson girl with upswept hair and a pinafore over her corseted waist stands with a beanstalk of a man with a pencil moustache and a beret. He’s trying to draw her closer, but…

Stephanie Kane | Lily Sparks’ Top Five Forgers
Author Guest / September 4, 2019

A PERFECT EYE pits Lily Sparks, a paintings conservator who was trained to believe her eye is perfect, against a forger-turned-murderer who is hiding in plain sight. When Lily zeroes in on the killer as a failed artist, she learns this: Some forgers aren’t in it for the money; they do it to prove a point. And the ones who are caught tend to meet very bad ends. Here are Lily’s top five forgers: 1 Eric Hebborn: A British painter who trained at the Royal Academy of the Arts and forged Old Master drawings. Hebborn sought revenge against the art world because critics called his works “derivative”, “labored” and “self-conscious”. In 1996, shortly before he published The Art Forger’s Handbook with tricks of the trade including modern recipes for period pigments and ink, he was attacked and killed on a street in Rome. Hebborn’s murder is still unsolved. 2 Mark Hofmann: A mild-mannered Utah Mormon (“a scholarly country bumpkin”) who forged historical documents about the Church of the Latter-Day Saints. To lull experts, Hofmann expressed doubts about the authenticity of his finds. “Do you really think it’s genuine?” he’d say. In 1985, to buy time before his forgeries were discovered,…