The Lover’s Portrait: An Art Mystery

The Lover’s Portrait: An Art Mystery

Book Two of The Adventures of Zelda Richardson series


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 Historical 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 painting, the 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 it is and why, Zelda learns about the Dutch art dealer’s concealed collection. And that Irises is the key to finding it all.

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.

Pick up the paperback or eBook from Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble NOOKKobo or your favorite retailer.

My novels are also for sale at several Dutch bookstores and gift shops: Caffe il Momento, Boekhandel Vrolijk, Athenaeum Boekhandel, The American Book Center, Reisboekhandel Pied a Terre, and the De Amsterdamse Boekhandel.

The Lover's Portrait: An Art Mystery (Adventures of Zelda Richardson, #2)

PAPERBACK and KINDLE EDITIONS: ISBN-13: 978-1523489176; ISBN-10: 1523489170
SMASHWORDS EDITION: ISBN-13: 9781311818898
KEYWORDS: art mystery, historical fiction, amateur sleuth, international crime, crime fiction, woman sleuth, art history, mystery, suspense, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, WWII, 20th Century, travel fiction


Read what others think about The Lover’s Portrait…

The Lover's Portrait paperback

8 stars (out of 10): “Alderson alternates between 1942 and 2015 in this gripping mystery that explores the provenance of artwork that was hidden from the Nazis during World War II and reappears in 2015. Intern Zelda Richardson’s work at an Amsterdam museum changes focus as she seeks to prove ownership of a painting stolen by the Nazis and uncovers a mystery. As the narrative unfolds and the truth is revealed, the suspense is intensely magnetic and the characters equally captivating.” – BookLife Prize for Fiction


The Lover's Portrait TripFiction4 stars: “Firmly set in Amsterdam, this enjoyable mystery explores the darker world of misappropriated and stolen art works during World War II….A good insight, via fiction, into the dark world of stolen artefacts, well researched and written with a good pace…
Setting is delightful… She spends time with her friend Friedrich at the Vondelpark and Museumplein, takes a trip out to Urk, and observes the unusual presence of parakeets… There are many more passing references for a bit of literary wanderlust to enjoy throughout the book. She has captured the very Dutch nature of the city and clearly knows it well.” – TripFiction


Follow Zelda Richardson through Amsterdam on Google Maps

4 stars: “A timeless topic…..a mystery that holds your attention….a pull on heart strings. All these add up to a book that will keep you reading and wondering “who done it”. I received an advance copy in exchange for an honest review. Being a mystery buff and knowing that this topic of lost art has been used in many stories, I wasn’t sure how appealing the book would be. This book is a winner! It met all my criteria for a good mystery. A great twist on the topic. A well developed plot by a new author.” – Amazon customer


5 stars: “Excellent read! This book is a mystery/ thriller/ detective story which deals with the restoration of art to their rightful owners (if they can be identified) following theft by the Nazis during the Second World War. The story kept me engaged from the start, it deals with a fascinating time and an emotive subject. It’s well written and has been well researched…Great setting too… Zelda is a great lead character and I look forward to her future exploits.” – author T. J. Green


The Lover's Portrait Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

The Lover’s Portrait: An Art Mystery is now part of the Stedelijk Museum Library and Jewish Historical Museum Resource Centre collections!

Stop by their Reading Rooms and take a look next time you’re in Amsterdam.



5 stars: “For me, a good historical novel must comprise fully developed characters, a compelling narrative, and absorbing information about the particular era referenced in the story. “The Lover’s Portrait” by Jennifer S. Alderson fits all these requirements.

The protagonist, Zelda Richardson, is a resilient, gutsy, ethical art history student who just might be in over her head when her search for truth entangles her in a 70-year-old web of stolen paintings, blackmail, and murder.

The author’s exemplary research into art works stolen by the Nazis during World War 2 is evident. However, she does not overdo facts; but rather, she seamlessly weaves the thought-provoking information into her tale.

I highly recommend “The Lover’s Portrait” for artists, art lovers, history buffs, historical novel fans, and anyone else looking for a well-written, enjoyable read.

I have not yet read Ms. Alderson’s first novel, Down and Out in Kathmandu, but halfway through The Lover’s Portrait I knew I wanted to read more of Ms. Alderson’s work, and so I ordered a copy and am looking forward to the read.” – author Pamela Allegretto


4 Stars: “Intriguing. I loved how the author put her own experiences into the story. I didn’t read the first book, but after reading this one, I will make my way to the first Zelda book. This historical references are great and bring a reality to the story. It’s an intense and highly well written story about Zelda’s investigation into a painting’s history. Great story. Highly recommended and Alderson just found herself a new fan.” – author Amy Shannon, Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews



4 stars: “The Lover’s Portrait: An Art Mystery had me excited from the get-go… As with many novels referencing WWII, the tone is often melancholy and bittersweet. So much was lost. While many novels focus upon the human loss, and it was disastrous, there is yet another aspect of loss: important and irreplaceable art and architecture. This novel focuses upon returning recovered artwork and the trust, love, and hate inspired by the desire of possession…

At the heart of this novel is a worry over which claimant is most deserving rather than who may have most legal right, and I don’t want to use a spoiler alert, so I will say nothing further than we do become emotionally invested in a particular painting because of its subject matter rather than monetary worth. Our desire to see this particular piece come home keeps us turning the pages…

The plot is engaging and there are some good, believable twists… The novel moves smoothly between omniscient flashbacks and the limited omniscient present. The novel provides thoughtful, engaging reading that keeps you eagerly following past events and present predicaments. Tying back to the art background connection, Zelda shares with the reader her knowledge about paintings hidden beneath paintings and WWII lost art lore. These bits are quite enjoyable and interesting…

It is clear this novel was authored with the same love and passion for writing that Zelda exhibits for researching art. The Lover’s Portrait creates both respect and delight.” –Reading Fury


5 stars: “The well written description of wartime and present day Amsterdam and the dilemmas concerning the restitution of art, gives this exciting art mystery color and depth. It is a real page turner because the writer pulls you into the story quickly and keeps you guessing until the very end.” – iBooks customer