Thursday, June 4, 2020

NBtM Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: False Light (An Art History Mystery #2) by Claudia Riess

Welcome to my stop on the NBtM virtual book tour for False Light by Claudia Riess. This tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt and a guest post as well as a the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card. Be sure to check out the rest of the stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
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Title: False Light
Series: An Art History Mystery #2
Author: Claudia Riess
Publisher: Level Best Books
Publication Date: October 27th 2019
Print Length: 370 pages
Genre: Mystery
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Academic sleuths Erika Shawn, art magazine editor, and Harrison Wheatley, a more seasoned art history professor, set out to tackle a brain teaser. This time the couple—married since their encounter in Stolen Light, first in the series—attempt to crack the long un-deciphered code of art forger Eric Hebborn (1934-1996), which promises to reveal the whereabouts of a number of his brilliant Old Master counterfeits. (Hebborn, in real life, was a mischievous sort, who had a fascination with letters and a love-hate relationship with art authenticators. I felt compelled to devise a puzzler on his behalf!) After publication of his memoir, Drawn to Trouble, published in 1991, he encrypts two copies with clues to the treasure hunt. On each of the title pages, he pens a tantalizing explanatory letter. One copy he sends to an art expert; the second, he releases into general circulation. The catch: both books are needed to decipher the code.

When the books are at last united 25 years later, Erik and Harrison are enlisted to help unearth their hidden messages. But when several research aides are brutally murdered, the academic challenge leads to far darker mysteries in the clandestine world of art crime. As the couple navigate this sinister world, both their courage under fire and the stability of their relationship are tested.

**The eBook is on sale for only $0.99 during this tour!**

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EXCERPT:
“You must try a crostini,” came a vaguely familiar voice from above. Harrison looked up, surprised to encounter the striking figure of Aldo Fabbri pressing forward a fair young tray-bearer, his hand at the small of her back.

Harrison’s love fest with Florence was instantly tarnished. “Good to see you,” he said nevertheless, extending his hand to Aldo before plucking an hors d’oeuvre of bread and chicken liver pate from the waitress’s tray. “Come sit down,” he suggested with a near-genuine smile.

“Certamente,” said Aldo. “But first we must request the wine—from the Fabbri vineyard, of course.” Aldo turned to the waitress. “Per favore, a bottle of the Chianti Classico riserva,” he slickly commanded, with a proprietary ogle. “As you might recall,” he said, turning back to Harrison, “it’s our signature wine, made from the Sangiovese grape. This year’s crop”—he glanced heavenward—“supremo!” With a nod, he dismissed the waitress, then pulled out a chair.

“I didn’t see you at the conference,” Harrison said, trying not to recollect in vivid detail Aldo’s play for Erika’s affections at their encounter in Tuscany over a year ago. The seduction attempt had taken place when he and Erika had visited the Fabbri estate as part of their art recovery mission. Erika had not succumbed to Aldo’s efforts, but her moment of hesitation had caused Harrison great consternation. What a presumptive assh*le! he silently hurled at himself. Erika had been in the initial stages of breaking free of her mistrust in men because of what she was beginning to see in Harrison, and he had not shown her the least bit of empathy in response. “The lecture hall was rather crowded,” he said, thrusting his attention to the subject at hand. “Perhaps you were hiding in the rear?”

“Alas, I arrived too late to attend the talks,” Aldo said, smoothing back his coal black mane.

He’s lost the golden highlights, Harrison realized. Gives the bastard a less flighty look.

“However, I did hear your talk on Gericault was admirable—ah, here’s our wine,” Aldo noted, at the waitress’s approach.

The wine was uncorked; the glasses filled; hearty samples downed; Harrison’s authentic praise begrudgingly delivered.

“To a successful book tour!” Aldo sang, raising his glass. “Salute!”

As they clicked glasses, Aldo cocked his head, as if at a sound in the distance. “I’m wondering. Whatever became of that woman you were with—Erika Shawn was her name, una donna molto bella e special! As I recall, a free spirit finding herself tethered to Puritanism, or merely conflicted by it. Either way, a pity.”

“Tethered to me, if you must know,” Harrison said, as coolly as his clenched jaw would allow. “As my wife.”

“Ah, lucky man to have tamed her!” Aldo looked about. “But where is she? Another toast is in order!”

“Back home, in New York. Working.”

“Yes?” Aldo gave him a bemused smile. “Quite a long tether, I’d say.”
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Claudia Riess, a Vassar graduate, has worked in the editorial departments of The New Yorker and Holt, Rinehart, and Winston and has edited several art history monographs.

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GUEST POST:
There’s a six-degrees-of-separation aspect to the inspiration for False Light. Were it not for a casual conversation that took place decades ago, at the start of my Freshman year at Vassar, it would never have been written.

A dorm-mate and I were sitting on the edge of my bed after a dinner of chipped beef, and almost as an aside in an exchange of personal histories, she mentioned that her father had once owned a sugar plantation in Cuba, but that it had been confiscated by Castro’s rebels. To the daughter of a college professor whose worldly possessions had never crossed the borders of Flatbush, Brooklyn, this was a collision of classes never before experienced first-hand. The memory would remain intact.

Many years later, I was talking to my brother, Jonathan, an art history professor at the University of Cincinnati, about my wanting to write a mystery with an art theme. He replied, without losing a beat, “How about Michelangelo’s Battle of Cascina—finding a lost study, a fragment of a cartoon, maybe?” As he gave me a little lecture on the subject, my college mate’s passing reference to her father’s experience in Cuba serendipitously came to mind, dovetailing Jonny’s suggestion. I had a story. Its pivotal point would be an art collection looted from the main house of a sugar plantation in 1958, with present-day repercussions. It would involve the Cuban Revolution, the Italian Renaissance and a sleuthing duo with a passionate but problematic relationship. I’d call it Stolen Light.

Stolen Light would propel me into writing what would become the second in an art mystery series, False Light. First, it had hooked me into the multi-faceted world of art, which knows no geographic boundaries and where the most sublime of human instincts clash with its basest: the perfect amalgam for fiction. Second, I was compelled to follow the evolving romance of my protagonists, Erika Shawn, art magazine editor and Harrison Wheatley, art history professor, who seemed to have become independent souls, needing only a nudge from me to move on with their lives. The experience had also introduced me to the excitement of juxtaposing startling, but historically plausible individuals and events to shape a contemporary mystery. In False Light, a quirky challenge dreamed up by reputedly mischievous master forger, Eric Hebborn (author of the memoir Drawn to Trouble, 1991) has a bearing on the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist of March 21, 1990. When Erika and Harrison become entangled in the consequent web of murder and sinister goings-on, their courage- and love-under-fire are tested to their limits.
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GIVEAWAY:
Claudia Riess will be awarding a $50 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter after the tour. To increase your chance of winning, leave a comment at a different stop on the tour each day. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

159 comments:

  1. Good Morning! Your book sounds great and I'm glad I got to learn about it. Thank you!

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  2. I love the flower on the cover. How long did it take you to write your book?

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    1. Thanks for your interest! It took about 10 months to write the book.

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  3. Sounds amazing! I love the cover too!

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  4. I love the cover! Did you self design, hire someone, or something else?

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    1. The publisher presented a few designs to me and I chose this one. All I had them do is move the vase off center,to add mystery.

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  5. This series sounds fascinating. Claudia, What sparked your interest in art?

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    1. Lots of trips to art museums from early childhood--especially Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan, the Frick. Another, my brother who was an interest-generating art historian! I lov eart, mystery, romance. Thought I'd explore all three

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  6. Wonderful story with terrific characters. Claudia is clearly a very good writer. M Rosen

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  7. this sounds like an amazing read, thanks

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  8. this sounds really good, thanks for sharing

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  9. A question for the author: When you were a child, who were some of your favorite suthors, book series, and genres?

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. All of A.A.Milne. Mary Poppins. When a little older, the Nancy Drew series, Alice in Wonderland. Thanks for your interest!

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  10. Looking forward to reading! Thanks for the giveaway...more importantly, thanks for being an author and sharing your gift with the world.

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  11. Oops for got Email....LaFonRC@aol.com

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    1. Thanks for your comment! Hope you enjoy thebook!

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  12. Interesting to know about this.

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  13. Thanks for featuring my book on your blog! Claudia

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  14. Took about ten months to write, Bernie. Glad you like the cover! Claudia

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  16. Nancy: All of A.A. Milne. Mary Poppins. When a little older,the Nancy Drew mysteries. Alice in Wonderland. Thanks for your interest!

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  17. Victoria S, Thanks for your interest. Glad you like the cover!

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  18. Thanks, Andra! The cover design was presented to me, along with others, by the publisher, Level Best Books. I chose this one, only I asked them to move the vase off center to add some mystery.

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  19. Thanks for the review, M. Rosen. Appreciate your interest!

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  20. I really like the cover and think the book sounds great.

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  21. Nice book cover and the book sounds interesting.

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  22. I love the cover! The colors are amazing!

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    1. Thanks--I love the colors, too. I picked the cover out of a bunch the publisher showed me. Only think I asked is for them to move the vase off center, for mystery.

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  23. is there a particular author who has influenced you a lot?

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    1. Not so much influenced re specific subject matter or genre, but inspired me to write! Early on: A.A. Milne. Later--now!--David Mitchell, Anita Brookner, Umberto Eco, Ian McEwan.

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  24. Great blog post & the cover is very cool

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  25. This sounds like a fantastic mystery read. I love puzzles and I think I'll enjoy them trying to find the clues they need from those 2 books.

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  26. I just love the cover.. it is so lovely...

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  27. I love the sound of this one! I can't wait to read it.

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  28. Thanks for this chance! Can’t wait to read...I love the cover. Thanks for sharing your stories with the world

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  29. Sounds like a great book. I like the cover.

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  30. Nice cover. I liked the blurb and excerpt. It sounds like a really interesting book. Thank you for sharing.

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  31. Another new-to-me author. I'll enjoy following your tour to get to know more about you and your books.

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  32. I'll have to check out the first book in the series.

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    1. Thanks for your interest! Although fun to see how Erika and Harrison's ventures begin, each book in the series is designed to stand on its own. So,no confusion if False Light read before Stolen Light! Either way, enjoy!

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  33. I love a good mystery, and this sounds like a unique one.

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    1. Thanks for your interest in False Light! Hope you enjoy it!

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  34. My wife is a big art fan; she can spend all day in a museum. I bet that she would like this book, a fun summer read.

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  35. David HollingsworthJune 7, 2020 at 7:28 PM

    That cover is really pretty.

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  36. I love a good art mystery. Thanks for your good works.

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  37. I like the cover. It has very nice artwork.

    abfantom at yahoo dot com

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  38. I enjoy mysteries & this cover calls to me!
    Thank you for sharing this review.

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  39. The cover is lovely. Great excerpt too!

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  40. I'd love to read. Sounds like a great mystery!

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  41. Congratulation

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  42. What advice or words of encouragement do you offer to aspiring writers?

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  43. Good evening! Awesome cover. Thank you for sharing your writing ability

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  44. I enjoy reading mysteries and this one sounds good.

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  45. I enjoyed your guest post.

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  46. I don’t know much about art history but maybe I can learn with this book!

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  47. I don't believe I've ever read a mystery centered around art!

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  48. I have read Stolen Light (Art History Mystery Book #1) I really liked it.

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  49. I love a mystery that spans time. Thanks for your good work.

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  50. This sounds like a great adventure to read!

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  51. The cover is great!! Sounds like an awesome book! Congratulations!

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  52. Thank You for the chance.

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  53. I like the title. It makes me want to know more.

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  54. I've always wondered how cover pictures are decided/retrieved

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  55. sounds like a fun one

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  56. I want to decipher the code. Thank you

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  57. Looks like an interesting book.
    Thanks for the contest. 

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  58. I love the read stories about how book ideas come about.. Thank you...interesting about your roommate.

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  59. I will be starting the Art History Mystery Book Series this weekend.

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  60. Love a good mystery with history, Thanks for your good works.

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  61. Sounds like a good read! I'm always looking for new (to me) mystery writers.

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  62. I think the book sounds great and I would love to read it.

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  63. i like the cover of it. a job well done

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  64. I liked both the excerpt, and the book cover.

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  65. Do you listen to music when you write?

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  66. What author do you most like to read?

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  67. Do you write more in bad weather or sunshine?

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  68. What author do you most admire?

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  69. Do you relax on the weekends?

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  70. I don’t think I’ve read an art history novel before so this would be a first for me!

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