Art and Mystery Down Under

Celebrities, travel, art, murder, and mystery all come together in Anita Zelman’s new novel, Dead Down Under—A Rebecca Lewis Mystery. Set mostly in Australia, the sites and moods of the country add to the flavor and intrigue of this new mystery about high society and the art world.

Rebecca Lewis writes a popular celebrity homes column for a Los Angeles newspaper and is fascinated by the art celebrities collect. She convinces her editor that she should write about celebrity art collections and should begin with the Whistler etchings collected by power agent Howard Major. Since the collection will be exhibited in Australia, Rebecca manages to get invited to join a group on its way down under that’s headed by the powerful Howard Major; his wife, Claudia; and their eccentric art curator. It’s a coup for Rebecca, and a exciting change in her career—but she’s not prepared for just how exciting things are going to get.

In Australia it comes to light that several of the etchings have been replaced by others—a case of fraud or perhaps art theft, which puts the exhibition in danger of being canceled and puts Major’s reputation on the line. But that’s not the worst of this group’s troubles. During the tour from Sydney, to Canberra, to Melbourne, two people are killed, and it becomes clear that someone wants to get the valuable etchings—plus anyone who might ruin his or her plans. That includes Claudia and Rebecca, and suddenly they find themselves in harms way in the outback.

Once back in Los Angeles, Rebecca’s life is still in danger. The unexpected lurks around every corner, but in the end this works to Rebecca’s advantage. She saves the art and the day by eluding and identifying the murderer. Zelman draws on her years as a travel writer to bring the landscape to life, be it a sheep station outside Sydney, or cave drawings in the outback, or the studios and mansions of the Los Angeles art world.

Anita Zelman is a seasoned travel writer who lives in Los Angeles, California. She won the Lowell Thomas Foreign Travel Award in 1977 and has contributed travel pieces to many newspapers and magazines, including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Toronto Sun and Prairie Schooner. She is the author of The Right Moves (St. Martin’s Press, 1988) and Travel Here & There (Fithian Press, 1998).


Dead Down Under
Anita Zelman

ISBN 1-56474-398-0
192 pages, paperback, $12.95

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