The Art Forger, B A Shapiro, Algonquin Books, 2012, 355 pp
The quality of writing in this novel is not really top-notch but the fact that I could not put it down and read it in two days means that it's not always about the quality.
Claire Roth is a fine artist who has not only never gotten a break but has been used by a male painter. Her former teacher and boyfriend took credit for a painting she had done, got rich and famous AND had her thoroughly discredited in the art world. This is the story of how she got her revenge.
Why is it called The Art Forger? Well, for one thing, Claire pays her rent by making expert copies of famous paintings for a company called Reproductions.com. She has the ability to paint in the style of some of the masters. The company is legit and its customers know they are buying a reproduction, but in the art world there are other gifted forgers some of whose paintings actually hang in museums as the real thing.
Claire gets herself into the most trouble when she agrees to reproduce a Degas painting for a New York art dealer in exchange for his promise to give her a private show at his gallery. We all know not to get mixed up with someone who says,"Trust me. It will be fine," but she does.
This is one of those mysteries where the wrongly accused suspect has to prove herself innocent before she gets locked up for good.
It is a pounding good read.
(The Art Forger is currently available in paperback on the shelves at Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)