The Adventure of the Mona Lisa (223B Casebook)

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 Mona Lisa stolen from the Louvre 1911

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.

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