Behind the Book

  • The Scariest Movie

    My nominee for the scariest movie is  an 85-minute German TV movie, later released in American movie theaters. The Wannsee Conference draws its script from the minutes of the January 20 meeting called by Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the Nazi SS, and 14 key representatives of the SS, the Nazi Party and government bureaus to […]

  • The Red Orchestra

    A beautiful American lecturer at the University of Wisconsin, Mildred Fish, married Arvid Harnack, a visiting Rockefeller Foundation fellow and returned with him to Germany in 1929. In 1942, she was tried as a member of the “Red Orchestra,” a Russian spy network in Germany. Her original trial ended in a recommendation of six years’ […]

  • Finding names

    Many considerations affect the choice of characters’ names. Are they memorable? Do you have too many characters whose names begin with J? Is the name appropriate for the age and birthplace of a character. I tried to consider the first two questions. For France, I could only work with birthplace. But for those writing about […]

  • Nazi Shmatzi

    Have you noticed that I never use the term “Nazi” in Thieves of Paris? I had been very careful where I used Nazi and where I used German in the first draft, since not all Germans were Nazis—and not all Nazis were German. Then a reader told me the term “Nazi” had not been in […]

  • Why visit Paris?

    When I planned a research trip to France for Thieves of Paris in 2014, before the ISIS attack, my brother asked me why I couldn’t just do my research on the Internet and from my home near Washington, DC. He had a point. Washington boasts Archives of the United States, the United States Holocaust Memorial […]

  • Thieves of Paris—making history come alive

    How did Thieves of Paris come to life? Monuments Men recently showed the grand scale of art theft carried out by the Nazis in France and introduces a real heroine who appears in my book–Rose Valland, the only French person allowed in the Jeu de Paume, the storehouse for looted art in France. The infamous […]