Tell your mother to do as we say… or we go to the police.” Frightened by these chilling words of blackmail on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 16 years old, Celine Caldwell is threatened as she raced from her tony school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side to her internship at the Museum.
She wants to go screaming to her mother’s office at the Museum, where she just happens to be the powerful curator, Julia Caldwell, but Celine doesn’t dare tell her mother about the threats. These days she doesn’t tell her mom much. Their relationship has been strained once her parent’s divorce was finalized last year. Since then Celine’s mom work at the Museum ballooned into an obsession that placed Celine dead last.
Rumors are flying inside the Museum about two mysterious paintings that have disappeared from an upcoming exhibition. Julia’s outrageous insistence that the paintings be removed from the exhibit has made her the number-one target of a criminal investigation, and her diva personality does little to move the police to consider alternative suspects. Celine knows her mother is innocent and vows to find the paintings and keep her mother out of jail.
Celine’s life gets very complicated when she learns that these two paintings are more than priceless works of art – they are evidence of a long buried murder. The closer Celine gets to the truth, the more dangerous each step becomes for her. Until she finds herself face-to-face with a killer so desperate to keep these secrets buried, right along with Celine herself.
Bridgette R. Alexander is a modern art historian. She received her graduate training in 19th century French art history at the University of Chicago. Alexander worked with some of the world’s greatest museums in New York, Paris, Berlin and Chicago and developed art education programs; curated exhibits; she has taught and published in art history. She’s been featured in a number of publications including, Art + Auction Magazine; the Wall Street Journal; and the Washington Post.
SOUTHERN GOTHIC is her debut novel. Alexander currently lives in Chicago and when not writing, she takes her husband, daughter and friends on midnight tours of the cultural institutions.