The Da Vinci Crime

Leonardo Da Vinci’s iconic painting, the Mona Lisa, measures just 76 x 53 cm and is owned by the French government. The painting can be found on display in the Louvre. However, on Monday 21st August, during the long hot summer of 1911, it disappeared.

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Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa on wood, not canvas, so the thief had not rolled up the masterpiece. The police found a left hand thumbprint at the scene, but in those days only the prints on the right hand were kept on file. Rewards totalling 80,000 francs were offered, to no avail.

Initially, the French police suspected Pablo Picasso of the theft. He was questioned, but released without charge. Then, two years later, on 10th December 1913, the Mona Lisa reappeared in Florence when a young man, Vincenzo Perugia, tried to sell the painting to an antique dealer for 500,000 lire. The antique dealer summoned the police and they arrested Perugia.

Perugia went on trial in Florence in June 1914. He claimed that he had stolen the Mona Lisa out of patriotic duty. This defence endeared him to the Italian public and he was sentenced to just one year fifteen days imprisonment.

 

 

 

You Say Psychiatrist, I Say Psychologist…

My Sam Smith Mystery Series features psychologist Dr Alan Storey. Occasionally, reviewers refer to Dr Storey as a psychiatrist, which invites the question: what is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist? 

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behaviour of humans and animals. As a social science the aims of psychology are to understand individuals and groups through a set of general principles and through research into specific cases.

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The roots of psychology can be traced back to the ancient civilisations of China, Egypt, Greece, India and Persia. Aristotle and Plato wrote about the mind while in the 4th century BC, Hippocrates identified that emotional disorders had a physical rather than a supernatural cause. The teachings of Confucius and Buddhism added to our knowledge.

During the Age of Enlightenment, psychology became a ‘hot’ topic. Many notable thinkers, including Rene Descartes, John Locke, Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill expressed opinions on the subject. While in the nineteenth century, Charles Darwin’s Theory of Revolution invited more radical thought. 

As the tree of psychology grew, inevitably, it developed numerous branches, or schools. These included: Psychodynamic, Behaviourism, Cognitive, Humanistic, Bio-Psychology and Social-Cultural. Dr Alan Storey is a Humanistic Psychologist, someone who believes in an holistic approach to human existence with the emphasis on creativity, free will and the positivity of human potential. Humanists also believe that we need to fulfill an hierarchy of needs, outlined in the graphic below, before we can achieve self-actualisation, the process of realising and expressing our capabilities and creativity.

DEC7E734-4C7E-4E43-B5DF-AB30C2D20FC9In contrast, psychiatry is a medical discipline devoted to the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of mental disorders. These disorders include various problems related to behaviour, cognition, mood and perceptions.

The earliest known texts on mental health stem from Ancient India. Indeed, psychiatric hospitals were established in India in the 3rd century BC. Moving through the centuries, specialist hospitals such as the Bethlem Royal Hospital were established in medieval London.

By the turn of the eighteenth century, asylums were rare. However, by the beginning of the twentieth century they had become familiar landmarks on the landscape. Psychiatrists believed that asylums were the answer. Unfortunately, these asylums created problems such as institutionalism, which led, in the late twentieth century, to more enlightened thinking and a wider range of treatment options for the patient.

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So, to answer our initial question, what is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist? Psychologists focus extensively on psychotherapy and treating emotional and mental suffering in patients with behavioral intervention. Whereas, through their medical training, psychiatrists can prescribe medications and therefore they spend some of their time with patients on medication management as a course of treatment.

For detailed advice about psychological and psychiatric issues please visit your medical practitioner or the BetterHelp website.

The First Great Train Robbery

On the night of 15th May 1855, three boxes of gold, valued at over one million pounds in today’s money, were placed aboard the guard’s van at London Bridge Station. However, when the boxes arrived in Paris, railway officials discovered that lead shot had replaced the gold. Who had carried out this audacious robbery? Investigator Mr Rees was put on the case.

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The trail led to Pentonville prison where Edward Agar, a professional criminal, was awaiting transportation to Australia for passing false cheques. In fact, he’d been set up by a fellow thief because of his affair with the thief’s mistress. Bitter about the set up, Agar confessed to the robbery, implicating his former mates and revealing that there was no honour amongst this gang of thieves.

Until Agar’s confession, the authorities had been clueless, the French blaming the English and the English blaming the French in comical fashion. However, love and lust are no laughing matter, as Agar later discovered when he succumbed to the charms of his erstwhile mistress.

In 1979, a film starring Sean Connery presented a highly fictionalised version of events where the master criminal escaped.

 

Diary of an Authorpreneur #1

My books are in good company on Google Play 🙂

Delighted that Cristina has agreed to translate Invasion, book two in the Ann’s War Mystery Series, into Italian. Cristina did a very professional job with Betrayal, book one in the series, and that book is now on its way to retail.

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An amazing week for Betrayal. The book reached #1 on the Amazon mystery, history and literature charts.

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More translation news. I’m delighted to announce that Minea has agreed to translate Saving Grace into Finnish. For the eighth consecutive week, Saving Grace is an Amazon Hot 💯 New Release. Meanwhile, this is Sker House, the Grange in Saving Grace, photographed this week.

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My latest mini mystery for the Seaside News

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Mini Mystery #6 Hard to Swallow

Adelaide de la Tremouille (pictured) was born on 19th December 1855. She married Edwin Bartlett, a wealthy London grocer, on 6th April 1875. For ten years the couple enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle. Then, in 1885, they met the Rev George Dyson. The Rev Dyson and Edwin enjoyed long conversations, particularly about marriage and relationships. During one of those conversations, Edwin revealed that if he should die, he would like the Rev Dyson to marry Adelaide. Sure enough, on 1st January 1886, Edwin did die, of chloroform ingestion.

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The police investigation revealed that, when alive, Edwin had allowed the Rev Dyson to kiss his wife. This led to suspicion and the arrest of Adelaide Bartlett for murder. The Rev Dyson who, on 28th December 1885, had bought four bottles of chloroform, was also arrested, but his case was dismissed.

At the trial, the jury wrestled with one question raised by the post mortem: how did the chloroform reach Edwin’s stomach without burning his throat or mouth? No one could supply an answer and although the medical experts found the verdict hard to swallow, the jury allowed Adelaide to walk from the court, a free woman.

 

Stream Three

Latest post from my publisher…

Goylake Publishing

Goylake Publishing is named after a stream. Our enterprise is built around sales, business and author partnership streams. Therefore, our blog posts are numbered streams 🙂 We hope you enjoy them.

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We are excited to announce that Gardners, the leading British wholesaler of books, eBooks, music and film have approached us expressing a keen interest in our books and a wish to distribute them to their vast network of retailers around the world. This is a major step forward and a significant boost for Goylake Publishing. https://www.gardners.com

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We are delighted to announce our business partnership with Bendideia Publishing. Bendideia publish fiction and non-fiction based on Bulgarian culture, myths and folklore. This is a natural meeting point for us because we have published books on similar subjects with more to follow. We are certain that this partnership will benefit both Goylake and Bendideia, and we are excited about our prospects as…

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