Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Luba Lesychyn and her international art theft mystery novel, Theft Between the Rains.
What would you do if you worked at a reputable international museum and art works listed as still missing since WWII began showing up on your doorstep?
That’s the substance of the newest urban art theft thriller Theft Between the Rains by Luba Lesychyn.
Drawing on her more than 20 years at Canada’s largest museum, Luba reintroduces many of the affable and quirky characters from the prequel, Theft By Chocolate. Also resurrected is the malicious art thief who has been on the world’s most wanted criminal list for decades.
Theft Between the Rains takes readers behind the scenes at museums and to parts unknown of Toronto. And with water being a character unto its own, Luba uses both humor and thriller elements to weave a page-turning story while simultaneously illustrating how changing weather patterns and flash flooding are impacting metropolitan centers globally.
Making Storms into a Character
I have a background in geophysics, so when I heard that part of this story involves changing weather patterns, I was quite curious about how and why Luba Lesychyn included the weather in a story about art theft.
Here is her fascinating response:
I have been living in Toronto for over 30 years and in the last decade, we have been witnessing an alarming increase in the number and intensity of flash storms that have resulted in flooding as we’ve never seen before. Viewing news footage with cars floating down main thoroughfares in Canada’s largest city is a very recent phenomenon, and a very frightening one.
Some years ago, I saw a documentary called Lost Rivers, a good portion of which is set in Toronto, and it addresses how cities have undergrounded their urban rivers and streams and use them as part of their sewage systems. This strategy may have been effective a century or two ago, but cities have become concrete jungles and water from these increasing number of intense downpours has nowhere to drain.
I’m becoming much more of an activist the older I get, and when I watched the documentary, I was reminded that Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum, in which both my books are set and where I worked for more than 20 years, is situated above one of these undergrounded streams. I was inspired to craft a story around these buried waterways and to use water and weather as primary motifs in the book and bring to light the fact that we need to act urgently to restore these natural systems to their daylighted glory as part of our climate change management. This kind of increased urban flooding is not just a problem in Toronto. We’ve been seeing this occurrence in metropolitan cities across North America and around the world.
I realized that in my book, I could bring attention to this phenomenon and, at the same time, use weather and storms to drive my plot and employ mother nature to create drama, conflict, and crisis throughout the novel. What wasn’t clear to me at first was how I was going to weave it all into an art theft story using the characters I had created in my first book, Theft By Chocolate.
But idea after idea was sparked and it resulted in a unique tale that I hope readers will find entertaining, informative, and thought-provoking. Perhaps people will recognize the same issues in their own cities and be moved to lobby for more urgent environmental remediations and assess the value of daylighting undergrounded rivers. Embedding this kind of subtle messaging in my books and genre is another way to reach people and perhaps make them more aware that we need to act in ways that will benefit generations to come.
About the Author
Luba Lesychyn is a popular Toronto-based mystery writer, a graduate of the Humber School for Writers, and a respected author in the library readings and events circuit.
In her two books, she draws from her more than 20 years of work experiences at the Royal Ontario Museum (Canada’s largest museum), and her time working for a private museum consulting firm to write humorous, international art theft thrillers featuring amateur sleuth Kalena Boyko. Her newest book, Theft Between the Rains, is a sequel to Theft By Chocolate (about a woman looking for chocolate, love and an international art thief in all the wrong places) published in 2012 by Attica Books and launched in Canada and the UK.
Luba currently spends her time writing and virtually touring Theft Between the Rains in which lead character Kalena Boyko returns to find herself pulled into international art theft intrigue when masterpieces missing since WWII start appearing on her doorstep.
Find the Author
Buy the Book
Yes, there is a giveaway
Luba Lesychyn will be awarding a print copy of Theft Between the Rains to a randomly drawn winner (US or Canada ONLY) via rafflecopter during the tour.
This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.
My Favorite Excerpt
The establishment’s boutique served as a retail antechamber to the dining area, and it would take every single molecule of self-control to bypass the exquisite jewelry-case-like displays that were making all of my senses dance. Rather than gems, however, the delicate glass cabinets were appointed with rows of truffle delicacies infused with Bombay chai and Tahitian vanilla, Seville orange and sweet curry.
The chocolaty delights sported deliciously creative names like Thai Me Up, Curry in a Hurry, Hot Mess, and Belle du Jour. From there my eyes wandered to wall displays strategically populated with pastel-hued macarons flavored with lavender and cassis, figs and red wine, passion fruit and pistachios. The white floors and walls formed a perfect backdrop highlighting the vibrant wares. I dug in my heels and cantered forward like a horse with blinders on.
Luba Lesychyn — we appreciate your sharing your book Theft Between the Rains with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.