The best mysteries with an art theme

Why am I passionate about this?

I arrived in New York City from Germany thirty years ago with two suitcases and a typewriter. Since then, I try to combine my background as an art historian – I hold a M.A. in Art History and Anthropology from the University of Tübingen, Germany – with my experiences travelling around the world for seven years, and my love for writing. After a career in museum education (at the San Diego Museum of Art, the Mingei, and the Athenaeum) I founded Konstellation Press, an indie publishing company for genre fiction. The first of my four novels, Spring of Tears, an art mystery set in France, won the San Diego Book Award.

I wrote...

Book cover of Spring of Tears

What is my book about?

Vega Stern, art historian and mother, finds a pink shoe at the Spring of Tears on Mount Sainte Odile in the picturesque countryside of Alsace, France. She becomes entangled in the murder case of a young woman and gets drawn deeper into the victim’s dark and mysterious past, which was marred by disturbing childhood memories, paranoia, drug abuse, and art theft during the Nazi era. The quest to solve the mystery leads Vega to New York, Germany, and back to France, where works of art provide clues to finding the killer.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Angels & Demons

Cornelia Feye Why did I love this book?

Angels and Demons is exactly the kind of book I like to read (and write) because it combines tension and a murder mystery with an incredible setting—Rome—and smart, knowledgeable characters—Professor Langdon. It leads the reader on a tour de force to some of Rome’s most iconic artworks and buildings, such as the Pantheon, or Bernini’s sculpture of St. Teresa.

By Dan Brown,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Angels & Demons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

CERN Institute, Switzerland: a world-renowned scientist is found brutally murdered with a mysterious symbol seared onto his chest.

The Vatican, Rome: the College of Cardinals assembles to elect a new pope. Somewhere beneath them, an unstoppable bomb of terrifying power relentlessly counts down to oblivion.

In a breathtaking race against time, Harvard professor Robert Langdon must decipher a labyrinthine trail of ancient symbols if he is to defeat those responsible - the Illuminati, a secret brotherhood presumed extinct for nearly four hundred years, reborn to continue their deadly vendetta against their most hated enemy, the Catholic Church.

Origin, the spellbinding…

Book cover of What I Loved

Cornelia Feye Why did I love this book?

Siri Hustvedt is one of my favorite writers. Her characters are so complex and believable, I always feel I know them personally after I finish a book by her. What I Loved is not strictly a mystery, even though there is violence, murder, and erotic tension. It is an urban thriller, a love story, and a deep dive into an artist’s soul over his 30-year career. 

By Siri Hustvedt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What I Loved as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the story of two men who first become friends in 1970s New York, of the women in their lives, and of their sons, born the same year. Both Leo Hertzberg, an art historian, and Bill Weschler, a painter, are cultured, decent men, but neither is equipped to deal with what happens to their children -- Leo's son drowns when he's 12, while Bill's son Mark grows up to be a delinquent, and the acolyte of a sinister, guru-like artist who spawns murder in his wake. Spanning the hedonism of the eighties and the chill-out nineties, this multi-layered novel…

Book cover of The Art Thief

Cornelia Feye Why did I love this book?

The settings of this book are Rome, Paris, and London, three of my favorite European cities. The missing Masterpieces are by Caravaggio and Malevich, two of my favorite painters. The author is the founding director of the Association for Research into Crimes against Art (ARCA) and holds a degree in art history, so he knows what he is writing about, and the book contains fascinating details art historical details, but also deep insights into the field or art forgery and international art theft. Enough to keep you glued to your seat for hours. 

By Noah Charney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The disappearance of a priceless Caravaggio in Rome and the famous 'White on White' by Russian painter Kasimir Malevich in Paris heralds the start of a series of seemingly unconnected art crimes across Europe. Fitting the pieces together as they follow a trail of bluffs and double-bluffs, bizarre clues and intellectual puzzles, Inspector Jean-Jacques Bizot in Paris and Harry Wickenden of Scotland Yard come to realize that what at first appears a spate of random thefts is all part of a single master plan, and that they are being led ever deeper into a baffling conspiracy.

This fiendishly clever debut…

Book cover of The Killing Art

Cornelia Feye Why did I love this book?

The author of The Killing Art is an artist himself and therefore writes from an insider perspective. The location is New York City and the art movement is the New York School of Art or Abstract Expressionism, which included the artists Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Mark Rothko. The main protagonist is Kate McKinnon, an art historian and former cop, who sets out to write a book about these artists, but is pulled back into solving crimes as the paintings she writes about— and their owners—are slashed. I like the female protagonist in this book as well as the more contemporary setting and art.   

By Jonathan Santlofer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

History and fiction collide with deadly consequences in the third Kate McKinnon novel—a story of bitter revenge, where the past invades the present and a decades-old secret proves fatal

Kate McKinnon has lived many lives, from Queens cop to Manhattan socialite, television art historian, and the woman who helped the NYPD capture the Death Artist and the Color Blind killer. But that's the past. Now, devastated by the death of her husband, Kate is attempting to quietly rebuild her life as a single woman. Gone are the Park Avenue penthouse and designer clothes. Now it's a funky Chelsea loft, downtown…

Book cover of Girl with a Pearl Earring

Cornelia Feye Why did I love this book?

The setting for Tracy Chevalier’s book is the Dutch city of Delft in the 17th Century. The featured artist, Johannes Vermeer, is one of the most sublime and mysterious men in art history. He only left 36 paintings behind, but each one is a masterpiece and draws the view into the serene surroundings of his house. Chevalier merges history and fiction, as she imagines Vermeer’s sixteen-year-old maid, Griet, being chosen as the model for the painting of the Girl with the Pearl Earring. I like the female perspective of this book, written by a female author and with a female protagonist. 

By Tracy Chevalier,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Girl with a Pearl Earring as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestselling novel by the author of A Single Thread and At the Edge of the Orchard

Translated into thirty-nine languages and made into an Oscar-nominated film, starring Scarlett Johanson and Colin Firth

Tracy Chevalier transports readers to a bygone time and place in this richly-imagined portrait of the young woman who inspired one of Vermeer's most celebrated paintings.

History and fiction merge seamlessly in this luminous novel about artistic vision and sensual awakening. Girl with a Pearl Earring tells the story of sixteen-year-old Griet, whose life is transformed by her brief encounter with genius . .…

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Ballad for Jasmine Town

By Molly Ringle,

Book cover of Ballad for Jasmine Town

Molly Ringle Author Of Sage and King

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Novelist Editor Sociolinguist HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) Good witch

Molly's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

A human child raised by the fae is an uncommon thing. But Rafi was such a child.

Now grown, half-fae but mortal, he lingers on the edge of human society in Miryoku, a nearby town sharing a border with fae territory. He doesn’t want to join the human world properly; he just wants to play music with a local cover band and avoid the cruelest members of his fae family.

Then, he meets Roxana, and his world shifts. She’s a human metalworking witch, up for a friendly fling with Rafi before she and her twelve-year-old daughter move away from Miryoku…

Ballad for Jasmine Town

By Molly Ringle,

What is this book about?

A law-abiding metalworking witch and a form-shifting half-fae musician embark on a secret romance, but soon become caught in escalating tensions between fae and humans that threaten their hometown. The second story after the popular Lava Red Feather Blue comes alive in Ballad for Jasmine Town.

The town of Miryoku has ocean views, fragrant jasmine vines, and a thriving arts scene, including a popular nineties cover band. It also sits on the verge, sharing a border with fae territory, a realm of both enchantments and dangers.

Rafi has been unusual all his life: a human born to a fae mother,…

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