Brooklyn Daily Eagle
In her debut novel “Under the Egg” (Dial; March 18), Brooklyn writer Laura Marx Fitzgerald masterfully blends historical facts from the art world, the Renaissance, and World War II to create an enthralling mystery that pivots around one of the most monumental treasure hunts in history.
After Theodora Tenpenny accidentally spills rubbing alcohol on her late grandfather’s painting and discovers what appears to be a very old masterpiece underneath, a riveting adventure ensues as she and her friend Bodhi, along with a colorful cast of characters, including the tattooed librarian who helps them with their research, the vendor who sells nuts from his cart near Theo’s house and is a former chemist and an Episcopalian priest, set out on a mission to uncover the mystery of the painting.
Their search takes them all around New York City, as they use their problem-solving skills and Theo’s extensive knowledge of the art world (not every 12-year-old knows “the difference between a Manet and a Monet”) to uncover the painting’s provenance and how it ended up in her family’s attic. Theo can’t get it out of her mind that her grandfather worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a security guard. She wonders whether the painting might have been stolen, and if her grandfather was in some way involved. The more they look into the painting and its history, the more determined they become to track down the real story —of both the painting’s origin, as well as Theo’s grandfather’s role in it.