STOLEN LIGHT is a suspense novel set in the art world and involving murder, the Italian Renaissance, and the Cuban Revolution, as well as a love story.

In 1958 in Cuba, the main house of sugar plantation owner, American-born WILLIAM DELANEY is vandalized by a band of Castro’s rebels, who seize Delaney’s art collection to raise money for weapons. Delaney is killed during the incident, and his pregnant wife, fearing for her safety and that of her unborn child, flees Cuba, never to look back.

Now, over fifty years later, Delaney’s wife dies, and his daughter, HELEN GILMORE, motivated by the desire to “know” the father whose life was kept shrouded in secrecy by his wife, is determined to restore what she can of his legacy. Her desire is fueled by documents she discovers in his long-unopened safe deposit box, but at the same time their very nature prompts an under-the-radar investigation. To this end, she seeks the help of a young Art News writer ERIKA SHAWN, whom she admires for her intelligence and spunk. Erika’s boss, deciding her protégée could do with a more seasoned hand, hooks her up with art historian, HARRISON WHEATLEY.

What begins as an academic endeavor quickly changes character when Helen is brutally murdered and Erika receives an anonymous note warning her to give up her assignment or suffer a similar fate. Undeterred, she continues her investigation, Harrison following suit.

The pair’s determined probing leads them to finding what may be a Michelangelo drawing; to unraveling a mystery over a half-century old; and to solving Helen’s murder. Their quest takes them to London and Florence, where their sleuthing is complicated by their burgeoning passion, as irresistible and, in a sense, as threatening as their mission.


“In this art-world thriller, Riess draws the characters with a broad brush, but they have all the capability, chemistry, and give-and-take of a strong mystery-solving duo…complex and intriguing…” — Kirkus Reviews



by Claudia Riess

Now available for purchase online and at Books & Books in Westhampton Beach.


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“Riess uses words as an artist uses a paint brush; the pages come to life.”
— Joseph Epstein, Pd.D

Stolen Light is a beautifully written and compelling story filled with intrigue, twists and turns and leaves the reader wanting more from this author. Wonderful.”
— Lenore Scola

“I don’t usually like mysteries but I couldn’t put this book down!”
— Marilyn McCoy

“A great read–couldn’t put it down! Agatha Christie worthy mystery with love interest and fascinating art history, too.”
— Bettina Niederer, M.D.

“A fascinating combination of suspense, art history and love story, taking the reader from Havana, Cuba to Manhattan, to Florence, Italy, and back.”
— Elizabeth Cooke

“The mystery was well laid out and came together in the end. I look forward to reading more books by this author.”
— Linda Donahue