The best mysteries for a peak into the world of art and artists

Why am I passionate about this?

Having taken up the brush myself, I can attest to some sort of mystical, out-of-body experience that sometimes surfaces as an artist creates. Emotions and senses become directly connected to one’s hands, releasing the unconscious, allowing the artist to bring something to life that was buried deep inside. My favorite class in art school was Aesthetics, which explored the philosophy of art – what possessed the artist to paint – and what passions and beliefs were behind some of the art movements, including Surrealism, Dadaism, and Futurism. Books that delve into the craft and passion behind great works of art are my favorite reads.


I wrote...

Book cover of The Gallery of Beauties

What is my book about?

Venice, 1612. A notorious courtesan and the scholarly daughter of the chief rabbi meet and form an unlikely friendship when their portraits are to be painted for a “Gallery of Beauties”. Dangerous passions are stirred by the portraits, and one by one, the beautiful subjects of the paintings are poisoned. The two women must rely on their wits to survive, as they confront the ruthless men who seek to control them and Venice.  

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Death in The Aegean

Nina Wachsman Why did I love this book?

Art inspires passion, and can lead to romance.

This book provides the thrills and escapism of my favorite type of movies – a heroine in an exotic location, who meets a handsome stranger while becoming involved in the theft of an ancient artifact, a golden snake goddess. 

There’s the danger of the discovery and display of these ancient artifacts, which are the target of international art thieves and unscrupulous collectors, and leads to murder. The main character becomes a main suspect, and as she tries to investigate to save herself she only gets in deeper.

Fans of The Man Who Knew Too Much and the recent movie Red Notice will love this.

By M. A. Monnin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Death in The Aegean as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nominated for an AGATHA for BEST FIRST NOVEL!

When private banker Stefanie Adams travels to Greece on vacation, she is suspected of murdering a wealthy bride who accused her deceased father of artifact theft. Unfortunately, the bride's accusation also ties Stefanie, a former archaeology student, to the robbery of a newly discovered gold statue, the Akrotiri Snake Goddess. With two high-profile crimes to solve, Greek police are under pressure, and both crimes lead straight to Stefanie.
 
Then her own life is threatened, and Stefanie must rely on her bank training for spotting potential criminals to identify which of her fellow…


Book cover of The Shadow of Memory

Nina Wachsman Why did I love this book?

In the Edgar-nominated The Shadow of Memory, the fourth book in a series set in England, antiques dealer Kate Hamilton is tasked to determine if a painting discovered in a former posh Victorian asylum is an authentic Dutch masterpiece.

The painting may be fictional, but the depiction of art forgery is not, and it is fascinating to discover the new technologies for discovering a fake as described in this book. The mystery and murder comes in when the painting’s provenance is tied to the murder of an old flame of Kate’s friend Vivian, and Kate fears Vivian may have become the murderer’s next target.

The painting raises the stakes for the futures of Kate, Vivian, and the murderer.

By Connie Berry,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Shadow of Memory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Connie Berry’s fourth Kate Hamilton mystery, American antiques dealer Kate Hamilton uncovers a dark secret buried in Victorian England.
 

As Kate Hamilton plans her upcoming wedding to Detective Inspector Tom Mallory, she is also assisting her colleague Ivor Tweedy with a project at the Netherfield Sanatorium, which is being converted into luxury townhouses. Kate and Ivor must appraise a fifteenth-century paintingand verify that its provenance is the Dutch master Jan Van Eyck. But when retired criminal inspector Will Parker is found dead, Kate learns that the halls of the sanatorium housed much more than priceless art.
 
Kate is surprised…


Book cover of Death in Delft

Nina Wachsman Why did I love this book?

The artist can be an interesting amateur sleuth in a mystery novel.

In Death in Delft, the painter, Vermeer, sketches the discovery of the body, and helps the main character investigate the death and disappearances of several young girls. An artist notices things in a different way, which can make them an interesting investigator.

For those of us who read and loved The Girl with the Pearl Earring, this is a new slant on Vermeer, as detective.

By Graham Brack,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Death in Delft as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The new historical mystery series you need to get your hands on! Perfect for fans of Andrew Taylor, C J Sansom, S J Parris and Ken Follett.

Three missing girls. Only one body. Where are the others? 1671, DelftThree young girls have been abducted from their homes.

The body of one has been found in a shallow grave. The other two are still missing.

The murder has shocked everyone in the peaceful city of Delft and the mayor is desperate to catch the perpetrator before panic can spread any further.

With the bitterly cold January weather intensifying it is doubtful…


Book cover of Diamond and the Eye

Nina Wachsman Why did I love this book?

Peter Lovesey’s detective discovers the power of art in this recent mystery set in Bath, England.

This book in the series is unusual, since most of the story is told through the eyes of a cheap private detective, who views Diamond as a grumpy old man. A body found in an antique sarcophagus and the disappearance of the antique dealer is at the start of the mystery, but the piece of art which was purchased in an antiques roadshow drives the plot.

Greed and ambition, stirred by the provenance of the art, results in several murder attempts which confound Diamond’s and the private detective’s investigation.

By Peter Lovesey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Diamond and the Eye as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Of all the weird characters Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond has met in Bath, this one is the most extreme: a twenty-first-century private eye called Johnny Getz, whose office is over Shear Amazing, a hairdressing salon. Johnny has been hired by Ruby Hubbard, whose father, an antiques shop owner, has gone missing, and Johnny insists on involving 'Pete' in his investigation.

When Diamond, Johnny and Ruby enter the shop, they find a body and a murder investigation is launched. Diamond is forced to house his team in the dilapidated Corn Market building across the street. His problems grow when his boss…


Book cover of Metropolis

Nina Wachsman Why did I love this book?

This is the last Bernie Gunther novel, in a series that is über noir, and whose protagonist is a police detective who is a member of the SS in Nazi Germany. 

In Metropolis, Gunther learns that murder has become the subject of an art movement, Lustmord, or “lust murders” which focused on the brutal, sexual-tinged serial killings of women and prostitutes in 1930s Berlin.

A scene in the book of a famous German expressionist sketching a murder victim in the morgue is all the more chilling, since I know it to be true. I’ve been fascinated with the art movements of this era, and have seen the exhibits of Lustmord paintings, which are still in museums today. 

By Philip Kerr,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Metropolis as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"[Metropolis is] a perfect goodbye--and first hello--to its hero...Bernie Gunther has, at last, come home."--Washington Post

New York Times-bestselling author Philip Kerr treats readers to his beloved hero's origins, exploring Bernie Gunther's first weeks on Berlin's Murder Squad.

Summer, 1928. Berlin, a city where nothing is verboten.

In the night streets, political gangs wander, looking for fights. Daylight reveals a beleaguered populace barely recovering from the postwar inflation, often jobless, reeling from the reparations imposed by the victors. At central police HQ, the Murder Commission has its hands full. A killer is on the loose and though he scatters many…


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Holy Terror

By John R. Dougherty,

Book cover of Holy Terror

John R. Dougherty Author Of Holy Terror

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I have felt a spiritual call in my life from as early as I can remember having memories as a young child. Being a life-long Christian has always drawn me to try to see God in everything around me, from people I encounter, to creation itself, to songs, to movies, etc. So, reading books which contain Christian allegory – symbols, meanings, underlying Biblical references – is very exciting for me. I enjoy trying to decipher that symbolism and try to understand the undertones that the book’s author is trying to communicate indirectly. I find that to be a personal challenge as I read, but also I find it very inspiring as well!

John's book list on Christian action books allegorical references

What is my book about?

None of them knew what was coming, and none of them will ever be the same again...

Detective Jelani is a tough, veteran cop. His younger partner, Detective Madigan, is brash and confident. But they were not prepared to become embroiled in a series of cosmic events they could never have dreamt of. As has been the case since the beginning of time, God and His heavenly host are facing off with Satan and his hellish host.

Caught in the middle is Thumos, a warrior angel, "quickened" by God for one thing: battle. But Thumos has become a disgruntled warrior…

Holy Terror

By John R. Dougherty,

What is this book about?

None of them knew what was coming, and none of them will ever be the same again...

Detective Jelani is a tough, veteran cop, who earned his stripes in the rough-and-tumble streets of St. Louis before relocating to Miami.  His younger partner, Detective Madigan, is brash and confident.  But they were not prepared to become embroiled in a series of cosmic events they could never have dreamt of.  In a world where the angels of heaven and the angels of hell bring their ageless battle to Earth, how will these men and their families overcome such insurmountable challenges?

As has…


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