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The Lover's Portrait: An Art Mystery (Zelda Richardson Mystery Series Book 1)

$3.99

A portrait holds the key to recovering a cache of looted artwork, secreted away during World War II, in this captivating historical art thriller set in the 1940s and present-day Amsterdam.

When a Dutch art dealer hides the stock from his gallery – rather than turn it over to his Nazi blackmailer – he pays with his life, leaving a treasure trove of modern masterpieces buried somewhere in Amsterdam, presumably lost forever. That is, until American art history student Zelda Richardson sticks her nose in.

After studying for a year in the Netherlands, Zelda scores an internship at the prestigious Amsterdam Museum, where she works on an exhibition of paintings and sculptures once stolen by the Nazis, lying unclaimed in Dutch museum depots almost seventy years later.

When two women claim the same portrait of a young girl entitled Irises, Zelda is tasked with investigating the painting’s history and soon finds evidence that one of the two women must be lying about her past. Before she can figure out which one and why, Zelda learns about the Dutch art dealer’s concealed collection. And that Irises is the key to finding it.

Her discoveries make her a target of someone willing to steal – and even kill – to find the missing paintings. As the list of suspects grows, Zelda realizes she has to track down the lost collection and unmask a killer if she wants to survive.

  • Awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion by indieBRAG's readers in March 2019
  • Chosen as Chill with a Book’s January 2018 Book of the Month and winner of a Chill with a Book Readers’ Award
  • One of TripFiction's 10 Favorite Books set in Amsterdam
  • Silver Cup winner in Rosie's Book Review Team 2017 Awards, Mystery category
  • Readers’ Favorite 5 star medal
  • One of The Displaced Nation magazine’s Top 36 Expat Fiction Picks of 2016
  • One of Women Writers, Women’s Books magazine's Recommended Reads for April 2017.


Set in present day and wartime Amsterdam, this captivating thriller is not just about stolen paintings, but also the lives that were stolen. This art history mystery also describes the plight of homosexuals and Jewish artists in Europe during World War II, as well as the complexities inherent to the restitution of artwork stolen by the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s.

The Lover's Portrait is Book One in the Zelda Richardson Mystery Series. The amateur sleuth mysteries in this series can be read in any order.

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Jennifer S. Alderson

Jennifer S. Alderson was born in San Francisco, raised in Seattle, and currently lives in Amsterdam. After traveling extensively around Asia, Oceania, and Central America, she moved to Darwin, Australia, before finally settling in the Netherlands. Her background in journalism, multimedia development, and art history enriches her novels. When not writing, she can be found in a museum, biking around Amsterdam, or enjoying a coffee along the canal while planning her next research trip.

Jennifer’s love of travel, art, and culture inspires her award-winning, internationally oriented series—the Zelda Richardson Mystery Series—and standalone stories.

The Lover’s Portrait (Book One) is a suspenseful whodunit about Nazi-looted artwork that transports readers to WWII and present-day Amsterdam. Art, religion, and anthropology collide in Rituals of the Dead(Book Two), a thrilling artifact mystery set in Papua New Guinea and the Netherlands. Her pulse-pounding adventure set in the Netherlands, Croatia, Italy, and Turkey—Marked for Revenge (Book Three)—is a story about stolen art, the mafia, and a father’s vengeance.

She is also the author of two adventure thrillers: Down and Out in Kathmandu and Holiday Gone Wrong. Her travelogue, Notes of a Naive Traveler, is a must read for those interested in traveling to Nepal and Thailand. All three are part of the Adventures in Backpacking box set.

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