In 1854, an Irish courtesan named Eliza Lynch hooked up in Paris with Francisco Solano Lopez, the monumentally rich and massively egomaniacal son of Carlos Antonio Lopez, the dictator of Paraguay. Over the next 16 years, she bore him seven children and, some say, goaded him into the bloodiest war in South American history. She may have, in the process, stolen the gold and jewels known as the treasure of the country.
Patricia King (pictured), a writer in residence, under the pen name Annamaria Alfieri, writes historical murder mysteries that take place against the background of fascinating points of South American history. Her next book, Invisible Country, which takes place during Lopez and Lynch's adventures, is out this July from St. Martin's Press.