The Big Thrill Discusses THE BEAUTIFUL ONE with M. Lee Musgrave
In 1912, Asim and Chione, a young Egyptian couple, are enthralled by the discovery of the Queen Nefertiti sculpture bust. Asim becomes the official photographer of the excavation, while Chione assists archaeologist Herr Borchardt as a translator. They embark on a journey to Berlin, a city brimming with possibilities.
Chione embraces newfound social freedoms and secures a job with a leading ancient artifact importer. Meanwhile, Asim joins an emerging Expressionist art group as an assistant photographer at the prestigious Berlin Museum. In the vibrant atmosphere of Berlin, they unknowingly become entangled in an illicit trade of smuggled Egyptian artifacts and mystical amulets.
Their lives take a dramatic turn when Asim is unexpectedly arrested for murder, setting off a chain of events that leads to the kidnapping of Chione. Their friends join forces to uncover the secrets of the gang and reveal the true killer.
This captivating tale blends historical facts with a touch of the fantastical. Against the backdrop of a transforming century, Asim and Chione navigate Berlin’s vibrant society while pursuing their desires, dreams, and the enduring quest for truth.
With a blend of authenticity and imagination, this narrative immerses readers in a world of romance, mystery and adventure. It invites exploration of the power of human connection and the eternal pursuit of immortality at the turn of a new century.
Author M. Lee Musgrave recently sat down with The Big Thrill to discuss his latest historical thriller, THE BEAUTIFUL ONE.
Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?
Yes, the first time I saw the Queen Nefertiti sculpture in Berlin along with all the other sculptures created by artist Thutmose in 1345 BCE and realized his insights, discernment, and sensitivity in capturing the very essence of their beautiful souls are his gift to all humanity. His artwork is so unlike any other ancient Egyptian artist and we are extremely fortunate to be able to experience them in our own lifetime.
A novel is such a major undertaking; there’s the writing of it, of course, then you’re spending months and months revising, polishing, and then promoting it. How did you know this was the book you wanted to spend the next couple of years on?
Once the publisher had given the green light to the synopsis of this story, I completed the book within a year…after having nurtured it in my mind for several years.
Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?
No, but I listen to a variety of music while I am writing including classical, jazz, blues and old rock & roll.
When you first created your protagonist for this book, did you see an empty space in crime lit that you wanted to fill? What can you share about the inspiration for that character?
From the very beginning of my writing, I was determined to make the protagonist of my first novel an artist and amateur sleuth. I used him again in the sequel. In this third novel, THE BEAUTIFUL ONE, I tweaked the main character just a little and made him a photographer and artist who accidentally becomes an amateur sleuth. So, I’ve combined my love of art with my love of romantic thrillers.
In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?
In a general sense, I hope they will gain a fuller, understanding and appreciation of why every generation produces artists as well as how artists contribute to the well being of the community and humanity.
What can you share about what you’re working on next?
Next, I will write the third novel in my James Terra Mystery series. Book 2, Off Kilter, ended just as the COVID pandemic was beginning so book 3 will start in 2024.
U.S. National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship recipient M. Lee Musgrave has had his art exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions worldwide. He writes about both current and historical art communities. He lives in the Pacific Northwest and was born in Perth, Australia. As a former art professor and curator, he has organized hundreds of exhibitions at museums, galleries, and municipal centers involving artists, collectors, critics, gallerists, and a vast array of related enthusiasts. His writings related to those exhibitions contributed to their success and to his ability to relate that community to others. Those many experiences and his ongoing personal art activities inform his creative writing. He is the author of Brushed Off, Off Kilter, and THE BEAUTIFUL ONE.
To learn more about the author, please visit his website.
THE BEAUTIFUL ONE with M. Lee Musgrave