Sex, spies…and a lost Picasso: April in Paris, 1921, by Tessa Lunney

Sex, spies…and a lost Picasso: April in Paris, 1921, by Tessa Lunney

It’s 1921 and Paris is jumping with jazz, art, ideas and a lust for liberte … It’s an intoxicating cocktail and one that socialite Katherine King Button can’t wait to down in a gulp.

The former Sydney debutante-turned-nurse-turned-spy craves freedom. She’s followed enough orders during the horrors of World War I where she fell under the cruel bidding of her boss, surgeon (and spymaster), Dr Fox, to vow never to take orders again. Now, after two years back in Australia, her wealthy parents are ordering her to marry and settle down.

K.K. Button flees to Paris where she reinvents herself as Kiki Le Blonde Australienne, a gossip columnist extraordinaire who poses (and more) for Picasso and parties with the avant garde and social elite whilst eeking out a bohemian existence in a Montparnasse garret.

In author Tessa Lunney’s delightfully light hands, all is froth and dash, silk and no knickers, and sheer naughtiness as Kiki dances with the Dadaists and Jean Cocteau and enjoys a few surprising trysts before the evil Fox calls to give her a new mission: find the ‘mole’ or double agent betraying Britain and believed to be fomenting war again in Germany. Inreturn, he will help overturn the trumped up treason charges against her adored wartime friend, Tom-Tom.

On the same day as this black velvet opera cloak-and-dagger stuff is going on, ‘Pablo’ Picasso asks Kiki to find one of his paintings, a valuable portrait of his wife, Olga, which he suspects has been stolen from his studio by a Russian or German visitor.

Lunney takes us on a hunt through the worlds of exiled Russian aristocracy, Communists and the emerging menace of Brownshirts in Silesia before coming to a neat and surprising conclusion as our silk stockinged heroine – surely one of the best-dressed and sexiest spies since Mata Hari – accomplishes her mission and has to decide whether she really wants something when she finally gets it.

About the author:

Tessa Lunney is a novelist and poet who lives in Sydney. In 2016, she won the prestigious Griffith University Josephine Ulrick Prize for Literature for her book, Chess and Dragonflies. The same year, A Room of Her Own Foundation Orlando Prize for Fiction for her story, Those Ebola Burners Them. In 2013, Lunney graduated from the University of Western Sydney with a Doctorate of Creative Arts that explored silence in Australian war fiction. The following year, she was awarded an Australia Council ArtStart grant for literature. Her poetry, fiction and reviews have been published in Best Australian Poems 2014, Southerly, Cordite, Griffith Review and the Australian Book Review among others.

 

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                      Publisher details

                      April in Paris
                      Author
                      Tessa Lunney
                      Publisher
                      HarperCollins
                      Genre
                      Fiction
                      Released
                      21 May, 2018

                      Synopsis

                      It's 1921, and after two years at home in Australia, Katherine King Button has had enough. Her rich parents have ordered her to get married, but after serving as a nurse during the horrors of the Great War, she has vowed never to take orders again. She flees her parents and the prison of their expectations for the place of friendship and freedom: Paris.Paris in 1921 is the city of freedom, the place where she can remake herself as Kiki Button, gossip columnist extraordinaire, partying with the rich and famous, the bohemian and bold, the suspicious and strange.But on the modelling dais, Picasso gives her a job: to find his wife's portrait, which has gone mysteriously missing. That same night, her old spymaster from the war contacts her - she has to find a double agent or face jail. Through parties, whisky and informants, Kiki has to use every ounce of her determination, her wit and her wiles to save herself, the man she adores, and the life she has come to love - in just one week.Full of witty banter, gorgeous frocks, fast action and skulduggery galore, April in Paris,1921 is playful, charming, witty, sexy, and very, very entertaining - and Kiki Button, the fearless, beautiful and blonde-bobbed Australienne ex-Army nurse, gossip-columnist-turned-detective, and reluctant spy, is a heroine to win hearts.
                      Tessa Lunney
                      About the author

                      Tessa Lunney

                      Tessa Lunney is a novelist, poet, and occasional academic. In 2016 she won the prestigious Griffith University Josephine Ulrick Prize for Literature for 'Chess and Dragonflies' and the A Room Of Her Own Foundation Orlando Prize for Fiction for her story 'Those Ebola Burners Them'. She was also the recipient of a Varuna Fellowship. In 2013, she graduated from Western Sydney University with a Doctorate of Creative Arts that explored silence in Australian war fiction.In 2014 she was awarded an Australia Council ArtStart grant for literature. Her poetry, short fiction, and reviews have been published in Best Australian Poems 2014, Southerly, Cordite,Griffith Review, and the Australian Book Review, among others.

                      Books by Tessa Lunney

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                      1. Dimitry says:

                        Great review!