Is the ‘Mona Lisa’ beguiling or smiling? Alluring or obscuring? Devious or mischievous? Is she artful or possessed? In my fictional account of her life, ‘LISABETTA – a stolen glance’, she is all of the above.

POSSESSION IS NINE-TENTHS OF A PORTRAIT – my story premise for art history mysteries, is that a master painter sees (and seize) more than the average pair of eyes. They are super watchers, possessed of such amplified seeing they could rightly be classified as seers.

Master artists are able to capture their subject’s souls on canvases, complete with emotional tics, eye contact, and ‘warts and all’ beauty marks, ‘hidden-in-plain-sight-under-the-skin’: Lips an observer would swear they witnessed trembling or an eye that winked or a smile that shifted from joy to pain from the gallery walls.

Leonardo da Vinci and Johannes Vermeer are two such visual telepathspsychic painters, well-acquainted with the ‘mediums’ of paint and charcoal.

LEONARDO created ‘The MONA LISA’ in 1503. In 1665, VERMEER created ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ – a masterpiece later dubbed ‘The MONA LISA of the NORTH’.  

Since troubled in life equates to restless and determined in the afterlife, a lost soul captured on canvas is ready to be found… literally ‘found out’ because what was once a welcome refuge and a safe haven (a substitute heaven), is now unbearable confinement, inhabited by a soul pleading to be liberated. The ‘two Mona Lisas’ are a case in point.

In my ghost-inspired stories, disembodied voices whisper in the living’s ears. The swishing of robes brush their shoulders, hints of exotic perfume breeze by. And then, along comes a compassionate author who agrees to assist for humane reasons.

In museums, lingering presences stir within objects that were once possessions. A pair of children’s shoes from a Titanic exhibit haunted me until I ‘channeled’ a story, that I like to imagine, gave their deceased owner a degree of long-distance closure.

POSSESSION IS NINE-TENTHS OF ANY STORY!  The loaded words ‘possession’ and ‘haunting’ are creepy key words that distinguish the classic ‘ghost story’, even cozy ones. That said, and in as much as unhappy spirits are involved, I write cozy.

There are surprising ways to free a spirit who helps you back. Author and protagonist make supernatural pacts written in stone: ‘You write me out of here and I will tell you a secret I’ve been too ashamed to admit, a hiding place of a lost work, or a document you can take to the bank. 

POSSESSION IS NINE-TENTHS OF WRITING A NOVEL A story idea descends like an entity, fills a writing room with creative ectoplasm, and relentlessly stalks an author, day and night, as a restless spirit. There is no peace until a muse’s phantom thoughts are on paper. The muse, by any other name, a ghost, is the driving force of the author who effectively becomes a ghostbuster – technically a ghostwriter for the otherworldly muse. Coffee, chocolate, and midnight oil, burned during the haunted hours of writing in the attic, sustain rather than nourish, the physical bodies of writers wasting away while the free-floating apparitions of their invisible mentors watch from behind a veil.

The possession of evidence is always nine-tenths of a detective thriller. Possession is nine-tenths of all romantic attachments between lovers in the genre ‘Paranormal Romance’. Possession of a secret is nine-tenths of a mystery.

A ghost remains nine-tenths alive. The sitter in a portrait is nine-tenths free. An iceberg is nine-tenths below the waterline.


‘LISABETTA a stolen glance’

The Mona Lisa’s identity crisis compromises her resting in peace. As Leonardo da Vinci’s kid sister and business partner, she demands recognition. Jupiter, the autistic boy, who befriends Lisabetta on a visit to the Louvre with his troubled mother, has a parallel journey of being understood in a world that largely ignores his creative talent. The ‘Mona Lisa’ may be priceless… now she must become a woman worth saving.



– Jakobina, the ghost of the ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’, wants to reunite with the love of her life, cut short by disaster – based on a true art history mystery. Aurelia Marcus, Jakobina’s target ‘hauntee’, is a fragile teenager who wants to escape a debilitating illness and so she disappears long before she runs away from home.


ARTFULNESS = The fullness of art, created to captivate the viewer, from enchanting to possessing, enticing to luring, or teasing to seducing. As humans we’re hooked on emotions, faces, and tales of the unknown.

TRUISM or CLICHÉ? The old ‘nine out of ten’ statistic rings true even when they’re nine-tenths speculation. Nine out of ten people don’t believe in ghosts. Nine out of ten people want to believe in ghosts. And yet, nine out of ten people are afraid of ghosts. Go figure.

Mystery or mystical? History or Mystery? Mastery or mastermind over matter? POSSESSION/OBSESSION… potato/potahto… let’s call the whole thing curiouser and curiouser.

LISABETTA – a stolen glance


About Veronica Knox

Veronica Knox has a Fine Arts Degree from the University of Alberta, where she studied Art History, Classical Studies, and Painting. In her career as a graphic designer, illustrator, private art teacher, and ‘fine artist,’ she has also worked with the brain-injured and autistic, developing new theories of hand-to-eye-to-mind connection. Veronica lives on the west coast of Canada, supporting local animal rescue shelters, painting, writing, editing other author’s novels, and championing the conservation of tigers and elephants, and their habitats. Her artwork and visuals to support ‘Second Lisa’ may be viewed on her website -
This entry was posted in art history, Books, Fine Art, Florence, Florence. Italy, ghosts, GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING, Historical Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Italian renaissance, Italy, Leonardo da Vinci, PAINTINGS, paranormal romance, REINCARNATION, Silent K Publishing, supernatural, the 'Mona Lisa', V Knox, V. Knox author, VERMEER, Veronica Knox author. Bookmark the permalink.

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