Andrea here, As some of you might know, I occasionally enjoy weaving real-life people into my historical mystery novels when I feel their presence adds depth and texture to the story. Sometimes they are prominent in the plot, and sometimes they are merely used as a passing reference to add a flash of color.
I have a new Arianna mystery nearly finished. It’s set in St. Petersburg, and my research into detail about the glittering Russian Imperial Court turned up the fact that Elizabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, the French portrait artist, was hugely popular with the Russian aristocracy. Indeed, it was considered a status symbol to have one’s portrait painted by her. So I threw this in as a tiny detail . . . (see portraits below)