15 Feb 2014
On Aug. 11, 1911, painter Louis Béroud walked into the Louvre to visit the Mona Lisa, and found instead four iron pegs and a blank space on the wall.
The theft caused a national uproar. The police swept up poet Guillaume Apollinaire and questioned him. He denied having anything to do with it, but implicated his painter-friend Pablo Picasso, who had a habit of lifting items from the museum for his own use. The painting was recovered in 1913 when a former employee, a patriotic Italian, had absconded with it and attempted to sell it to an Italian museum. In the meantime, the prolific writer Carolyn Wells (1862-1942) wrote this mash-up of literary tec all-stars — Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, Raffles, The Thinking Machine, Dupin, Lupin, Luther Trant, and LeCocq — which appeared in The Century Magazine for January 1912.