SEQUIM — Sequim author Aaron Elkins’ new mystery book paints a picture of the past.
Elkins, an award-winning author and former anthropology professor, saw the release of his most recent book, “A Long Time Coming,” in early August.
The book draws readers back to World War II when Nazis seized works of art. It follows the character of art curator Val Caruso, who travels to Milan to help a holocaust survivor recover a pair of sketches by artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir that belonged to his family.
Caruso is set on retrieving the sketches that were stolen by the Italian Fascist militia, and his trip takes a precarious turn when he gets mixed up with art thieves, forgers and someone who wants Caruso gone.
Despite the danger, Caruso is determined to reunite an old man with his past.
“[The book] has a lot of art history,” Elkins said.
While Elkins combines both art history and fiction for an entertaining mystery, he also said character development is an important aspect of his writing.
“The characters are really important; I work hard to make characters appealing,” he said.
Elkins said he hopes this book teaches readers about art history and allows them to connect the dots of the mystery at hand. He said what makes a good mystery is making sure the clues are there.
“I want readers to be surprised and say, ‘I should have seen it!’ ” Elkins said.
A staple of his writing, Elkins also said he enjoys creating a “just” ending for his readers where the plot is resolved.
“I like happy endings,” he said.
His love of writing has kept him creating mystery and thriller books for more than 30 years. He will head to Europe in the near future to perform research for his next book.
Elkins is known for writing several successful book series such as the “Gideon Oliver Mysteries,” “Chris Norgren Mysteries,” “Lee Ofsted Mysteries” (with wife Charlotte Elkins) and “Alix London Mysteries” (also with Charlotte), as well as many thrillers.
He’s earned an Edgar Award, an Agatha, a Nero Wolfe Award and a Malice Domestic Life Achievement Award, and his nonfiction work has appeared in Smithsonian Magazine, The New York Times Magazine and Writer’s Digest.
To purchase his book, visit area bookstores or www.amazon.com.
To learn more about Elkins, visit www.aaronelkins.com.
Erin Hawkins is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach her at [email protected].