Another “Jewish Miss Marple” Quest Turns Personal for Lily Kovner as she Learns What happened to The Nice Little Blonde Girl

Lily and her significant other Simon travel to Rome to examine a previously unknown manuscript attributed to a famous Talmudic scholar. Lily spies a familiar painting in the shabby restaurant where the manuscript is unaccountably stored.


The suspicious death of the Vatican priest who led them there and the disappearance of both items send Lily and Simon to Lviv, Ukraine. Lily has been there once before, visiting relatives when the city was known as Lwów, Poland, before World War II and the Soviet occupation that isolated it behind the Iron Curtain. She wonders if any of the relatives she met then survived the Holocaust.


The trail of the manuscript and painting provides early clues. Ultimately, the quest reveals a modern woman’s saga of solitary resilience, despite the treachery of perpetrators professing to be holy, a tale that mirrors the centuries-old local legend of a Jewish heroine who saved a landmark synagogue.




Lily Kovner, the “Jewish Miss Marple,” Goes to China to find The Lost Torah of Shanghai

Lily scoffs at the nickname Ruth, her Chinese-Jewish cousin living in Israel, gives her while presenting an unlikely new quest: to find a historic Iraqi Torah scroll that has gone missing from the home of Ruth’s uncle, a retired Chinese government official in Shanghai. The Torah’s disappearance portends serious personal and diplomatic consequences. Although Lily can’t imagine finding a Torah in China, she and her significant other, Simon, agree they must assist Ruth.


It’s 1991, and Saddam Hussein’s Scuds raining down on Israel cast an ironic pall on the mission, along with threats, physical attack, and murder. The cultural exoticism and strangeness of the Chinese setting add to Lily’s skepticism and sense of futility. Twenty-five hundred years of Jewish Diaspora underlie The Lost Torah of Shanghai, as Lily uncovers personal and political history that restores her spirit and self-confidence as a journalist-turned-accidental-sleuth.






After the Auction

After the Auction set journalist Lily on an investigation that was personal: a search for an antique Seder plate looted from her family by the Nazis. It’s a quest for justice rooted in the loss of her family in the Holocaust. A quest that leads her across three continents and confrontation with threats, murder, a deal with a devil, and new romance.




About the Author

Growing up in Milwaukee and as a longtime working mother, I never dreamed that, as “a woman of a certain age,” I’d be privileged to enjoy a fulfilling volunteer life, global travel, and the opportunity to indulge my passion for history by writing novels.


Some people see me in my protagonist, Lily: I’ve worked as a journalist, I swim, I send home-baked goodies to far-flung kids. But she’s only aged five years between After the Auction and The Nice Little Blonde Girl. It’s been nine. I’d like her secret. (For more about Linda, click here).


Latest News and Updates

Coming August 2019: The Nice Little Blonde Girl: A Lily Kovner “Jewish Miss Marple” novel based on a story in my own family

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You can now FIND The Lost Torah of Shanghai!

Well, the birth of this baby sure took a long time, but it's now available in print and eBook formats at all the usual suspects, including this website. I hope you like it. It doesn't exactly follow the "formula" of After the Auction, but it's definitely a sequel--branding Lily as the "Jewish Miss … [Read More...]

A Unique twist on a Lost Art Search: It’s All in the Family

I met Elizabeth Rynecki a few years ago at a lecture at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, here in San Francisco, during its exhibit "Reclaimed: Paintings from the Collection of Jacques Goudstikker." That exhibit focused on the Goudstikker family's efforts to reclaim highly valuable masterpieces … [Read More...]