Portrait of a Lady (Leonardo da Vinci Mystery Series #2)

( 2 )

Overview

The legendary Renaissance man and amateur sleuth is back in this exciting follow-up to The Queen's Gambit. As court engineer to the Duke of Milan, Leonardo da Vinci turns his superior mind to a variety of pursuits-from painting to solving the occasional murder. After the deaths of two female servants, Leonardo asks his apprentice, Dino, to go undercover disguised as a woman in the service of the Duke's ward, Contessa Caterina. This should be easy enough, given that "Dino" is in reality Delfina, a young woman ...

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Portrait of a Lady: A Leonardo DaVinci Mystery

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Overview

The legendary Renaissance man and amateur sleuth is back in this exciting follow-up to The Queen's Gambit. As court engineer to the Duke of Milan, Leonardo da Vinci turns his superior mind to a variety of pursuits-from painting to solving the occasional murder. After the deaths of two female servants, Leonardo asks his apprentice, Dino, to go undercover disguised as a woman in the service of the Duke's ward, Contessa Caterina. This should be easy enough, given that "Dino" is in reality Delfina, a young woman masquerading as a boy to serve as Leonardo's apprentice. Delfina is soon torn between her loyalty to Leonardo and her growing feelings for Gregorio, the handsome captain of the Duke's guard. But if what the Contessa's tarot cards foretold is correct, Delfina might be destined to lose her heart...and perhaps her life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Fans of Stuckart's impressive debut, The Queen's Gambit(2008), may wish Leonardo da Vinci, the ultimate Renaissance man, was on stage more often in this sequel. As readers of the previous book know, the artist's apprentice, Dino, who serves as narrator, is secretly a woman, Delfina. When Bellanca, a servant to the duke of Milan's ward, Contessa Caterina, falls to her death from a tower, Leonardo's investigation into what proves to be a murder case requires that Delfina pose as a female servant herself. Bellanca's death is soon followed by that of another member of Contessa Caterina's retinue. Already hard-pressed to maintain the deception, Delfina finds her undercover role complicated by a somewhat predictable romantic entanglement with a handsome soldier. Da Vinci emerges at the end to solve the crimes in an action-packed sequence more reminiscent of Magnum than Columbo. As in The Queen's Gambit, Stuckart convincingly captures the flavor of 15th-century Italy. (Jan.)

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Library Journal

The suspicious deaths of two female servants of Contessa Caterina, the ward of the Duke of Milan, give artist and sleuth Leonardo da Vinci (The Queen's Gambit) the idea to place his apprentice, Dino, in service to the Contessa's household. Dino, who is really a woman posing as a man so she can learn from the great Master, loses her heart to a soldier and sees da Vinci viciously attacked and almost killed. Milan in 1483 is a hot bed of intrigue, and Stuckart's delightful second series historical plays it for all it's worth. Highly recommended.


—Jo Ann Vicarel
Kirkus Reviews
Leonardo da Vinci and a girl masquerading as his apprentice team up for the second time (The Queen's Gambit, 2008) to solve murders in Castle Sforza. Da Vinci, the ultimate Renaissance man, has found time between inventing the submarine and painting the Mona Lisa to solve mysteries for the Duke of Milan. When a pretty young servant of the contessa falls to her death, Leonardo the Florentine realizes instantly that her death was no accident. But despite his genius, Leonardo, that master of the human form, has failed to recognize that his faithful apprentice and crack investigator Dino is really Delfina, a girl pulling a Yentl, despite the fact that Dino is supposedly intimate enough with the Master to know his sleeping habits and the contents of his notebooks. To seek out the truth among the serving women, Leonardo disguises Dino as a girl (Delfina becomes Dino becomes Delfina), where she suspects, yet is magnetically drawn to, the dashing, dastardly captain of the guard. When another death thickens the mystery, Delfina must confront her divided loyalties and uncover the truth. This wildly implausible tale unfolds in a style both florid and repetitive, with adverbs on pointless parade and ham-fisted reminders of events related just pages before. By the halfway point, the plot quickens enough to provide a welcome distraction from the stylistic infelicities, but those blunders never let up. Amateur and utterly unbelievable.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425225738
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/6/2009
  • Series: Leonardo da Vinci Mystery Series, #2
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,113,434
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Diane A. S. Stuckart earned her degree in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 3 of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 2, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    an engaging Renaissance Era whodunit

    In 1483 Milan, Dino is the apprentice to court engineer Leonardo Da Vinci. The great Renaissance Man knows so much about the world, perhaps more than anyone else, but remains ignorant that Dino is actually a female named Delfina; women cannot be apprentices.<BR/><BR/>When a servant of Contessa Caterina falls to her death, the Duke of Milan expects Leonardo to investigate as Bellanca worked for his ward. Leonardo and Dino make inquires including visiting the tower where the fatal incident started. They conclude this was a homicide and they will need an insider working amidst the servants of the Contessa. Leonardo arranges for Delfina as Dino dressing like a female servant to obtain a position working for the Contessa. Soon a second person employed by the Contessa is murdered. Meanwhile the Duke¿s Captain of the Guard Gregorio is attracted to Delfina, who reciprocates but fears his connections to both murdered women make him a prime suspect.<BR/><BR/>The second Leonardo Da Vinci Mystery (see THE QUEEN¿S GAMBIT) is an engaging Renaissance Era whodunit although Da Vinci plays a lesser (but critical) role than he did in the initial mystery as much occurs under the stars with Dino as Delfina starring. The story line is fast-paced yet contains a strong sense of time and place as the audience will feel they are visiting late fifteenth century Lombardy Province. The investigation is a cleverly designed historical investigation that also challenges Delfina¿s divided feelings towards her employer, and the Captain. <BR/><BR/>Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted January 22, 2010

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