A Day In The Life With Laurel Beacham by Ritter Ames

abstract-aliasesGo. . .Be an art recovery expert…Attend exclusive and posh parties. . .See the world. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? And it is—at least when you can duck people tailing you, can get stolen masterpieces back without having to actually steal them again yourself, and you don’t have to attend those fancy fundraising parties with a .38 strapped to your thigh and hidden under your designer evening gown.

Those are the little things that never get into the official job description, but it’s just my average day as Laurel Beacham, premier art recovery expert.

You’d think with the Beacham last name—and the Beacham Foundation on my business cards—I’d have it pretty good. And if Grandfather was still alive this would likely be the case. Though he’d probably put the kibosh to my doing day-to-day tasks that keep my adrenalin in the red zone. But Grandfather passed away more than a dozen years ago, and my shiftless father took over and lost the foundation and the family fortune before skiing to his doom, leaving me trying to pick up the pieces of my life and deal with the fallout of Daddy’s selfish actions. I’ve done pretty well, except I’m still broke most of the time, but that’s another boring story and another lecture from my boss, Max.

My job currently pits me and my team against a master criminal, and I have to stop the art heist of the century. Piece of cake, right? Sure, if we only knew who the criminal was, or had any definitive proof of what the heist entailed, or if I could trust anyone was truly on the level and not out to manipulate circumstance to his own advantage. Well, except my right-hand geek Nico. He manipulates everything his way, but it’s always my way, too, so we’re good.

When people ask what I do for a living, I usually say I liaison with museums and do special work involving the collections. Then, invariably, the questioner will either launch into a semi-long monologue about a favorite artist or Renaissance art or the Impressionist period, or the person will say something like “oh, that’s nice” and walk away. Unless the one asking is a guy who thinks because I’m blonde, attractive and under thirty that I obviously can’t wait to hook up with him. Those guys always stay; I’m the one who says “that’s nice” and leaves.

Very few people press me about what I actually do in my chosen career—thank goodness. While the normal public sees me at the gala balls and fundraisers given to promote art and convince funders to come through with cash to help art-based nonprofit enterprises, my role in the masterpiece game is quite a bit more than looking smashing in a Givenchy gown. Remember the .38 that I might have hidden under the designer couture.

Being an art recovery expert is part acting, part mind reading, and part cat-wrangling. And it constantly changes. Recently, I used hostage negotiation techniques to retrieve a master work by a fifteenth century English painter, so I could return it to the National Gallery in London. Sometimes talking with the thief doesn’t work and I have to…well…re-appropriate the piece on my own. Through various and often stealthy methods.

Correction, not completely on my own. I have a first class team. Nico is my gorgeous Italian geek who can get into anything digital. Cassie is American, like me, and helps run the London office of Beacham Ltd. She’s a genius at art restoration and forgery spotting. And Jack Hawkes. . .Jack Hawkes. . .

Jack is a Brit who started off as a thorn in my side, but has begun growing on me more than I would have ever believed. I still don’t completely trust him, and I’m not sure what his agenda truly encompasses, but while we’re on the hunt for international art masterminds Jack is proving his mettle. His quick mind and reflexes complement my own, even if I haven’t yet learned where he got his training. That’s one of those trust issue things I mentioned. Now, if I can just handle his damned cheeky ego.

However, as this spider web of lies and deceit and murder grows tighter and tighter around us, I’m honestly glad I have someone watching my back. I may still not know as much about Jack as I want to, but I am learning to trust him a little. Given my history with men, that’s saying a lot.

In the meantime, our quarry went deep underground several months ago, but one by one they’re surfacing again. I need to get my electronic gizmos ready to track them and see what I can learn. We really need a break if we’re going to stop this heist before it’s too late.

If you’d like to tag along for the ride, pick up a copy of Abstract Aliases, released this week by Henery Press. I’ll give one signed copy of Abstract Aliases to one lucky poster. To enter, just comment with your favorite work of art. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends October 17, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

Abstract Aliases is the third book in the Bodies of Art mystery series, published by Henery Press, October 2016.

Abstract clues lead to new questions. New leads turn to “dead” ends. A heist plot ties to forgeries. Adversaries resurface twisting an already complicated case. And art recovery expert Laurel Beacham must not only outwit criminals, but keep her wits around Jack Hawkes’s cheeky ego.

Before the criminals they were tracking headed underground, evidence pointed toward two organizations as key to an epic art heist. Despite their best efforts, Laurel and her team haven’t caught a break in months—even Jack’s unofficial intel stuttered to a halt. But on New Year’s, as Big Ben’s bell tolls midnight, the guilty return and nowhere is safe. A source in Rome is killed within hours. Other allies are attacked in Rome and London, and a contact in Germany reports dangerous shadows closing in. The nearer the answers, the higher the stakes. Worse, Jack may not be the only one Laurel must learn to trust to avoid another brush with death.

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About the author
USA Today bestselling author Ritter Ames writes the Bodies of Art Mysteries, her way of coaxing her husband into more European travel for “research.”

All comments are welcomed.

39 responses to “A Day In The Life With Laurel Beacham by Ritter Ames

  1. Doward Wilson

    The statue of The Thinker is one of my favorite works of art or any painting from the Impressionist Period.

    • Oooh, totally agree Doward. That’s one of the things the best things about writing this series–I have a legitimate reason to “research” my favorite art pieces each day 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, and good luck in the drawing!

  2. Dru, thanks so much for inviting Laurel to post today 🙂

  3. It depends…sometimes it’s Dali!

  4. This is such a great series. I downloaded Abstract Aliases the day it was released. Looking forward to reading it. Laurel is a great character. I would love to have a signed copy for my keeper shelf. As for art, I love Monet’s work. I also love art work that captures the beauty of the ocean. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of Abstract Aliases.

    • Hi Linda, glad to know you’re such a fan! Yes, the Impressionists are wonderful, and Monet in particular. And you’re right about the ocean, and it’s always a treat to see how an artist captures the beauty and energy of those types of scenes–some so active, others so calming.

  5. My fingers are crossed that I am the one lucky to win Ritter Ames’ s new book. My favorite artists are Georgia O’Keefe and Grandma Moses. Their art speaks to me in different ways. Thanks for the opportunity to enter the giveaway. robeader53@yahoo.com

  6. My favorite artist and any of his art is Marc Chagall. Thanks for this interesting feature and giveaway.

  7. Barbara Hackel

    Fascinating! I would love to read all of the series-and will get on that! Thanks Dru Ann, you never fail me! 🙂 Thanks to Ritter for her interesting characters and a chance to improve my art knowledge!

    • Barbara Hackel

      Ritter, I forgot to tell you my “favorite” work of art? Nighthawks by Edward Hopper. 🙂 I love the possibilities in that painting!

    • The first book in the series is on sale right now for just 99 cents, Barbara, but it’s set to go back to full price after the weekend. So if you want to start from the beginning, you can do so at a bargain right now 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by!

  8. Please choose my name. I really want this book.

  9. I would love to win this awesome sounding book! It’s hard to pick just one but one of my favorites is Nighthawks!

  10. The screaming man. Thanks for the chance.

  11. I love this series and it’s main characters! Fun mysteries, great locales and ART! You can’t go wrong.

    • Oh, thanks so much for saying that, Sheri! I appreciate it. I love writing Laurel’s & Jack’s adventures. Thanks for stopping by, and good luck in the drawing!

  12. Oh, to pick one, I love Monet’s water lilies (not to mention most of his work), all of Michelangelo’s work, OH, Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh…can you tell that I have a hard time picking one? LOL

    • I have the same trouble. Simply too many fabulous masterpieces out there, Debbie 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by today. Good luck in the drawing.

  13. I love Monet’s paintings. I would say henough is my favorite. I haven’t read anything by Ritter Ames, but I’m definitely adding to my TBR list.

    • Monet is definitely a master, Dianne. If you’re wanting to start my series, my publisher has discounted the first book in the series this week at just 99 cents, but it will go back up to full-price on Monday. Just wanted to mention that in case you like a bargain 🙂 Good luck in the drawing!

  14. The Scream

  15. I don’t have a “favorite” classic piece of art but I DO love the gang! The first time I went to Paris and London, just the fact that some of the buildings and such had been there for centuries, well, that did it for me.

    • No kidding. That’s what got me at the Tower in London the first time we were there. I realized this was a building that had stood almost a thousand years. And we were still paying to see it.

  16. My favorite work of art is the NYC skyline…..
    Does that count??
    Thank you for the giveaway…..

    • Of course that counts. Architecture is definitely art. I talk about skylines and buildings in each of my books, detailing specific characteristics and creative touches. And in Marked Masters I get to talk about the Art Deco buildings the city is known for. Every part of a skyline is art. Good luck in the drawing, Cyn, and thanks for stopping by 🙂

  17. I love to see the thieves get their just desserts. Anyway, my favorite painting is Sunday on the Grande Jette by Seruat (I hope I’m spelling that correctly). I loved the musical based on it.

    • You were close on the spelling, and it’s one of my favorites too. I can’t imagine the amount of patience it took for Seurat to make those millions of individual dots that make up the painting–a first of its kind. Did you know he used science to decide what colors to use each time, to be able to trick the viewers’ eyes into blending the patches instead of seeing every point. Truly amazing. Good luck in the drawing, rochf 🙂

  18. Only a few minutes until this closes…. Trying to think fast! “A girl with a book reading”…. don’t know the name of it.

  19. Della Williamson

    Long been a fan of Norman Rockwell work. But to name one piece? So hard. Same with Monet