Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Art Forger - B.A. Shapiro

This is a mystery suggested by one of my book clubs that I borrowed from the library.  I'm not a fan of mysteries because they are either too easy to figure out or impossibly convoluted.  I also find I will speed read just to see how the mystery is solved and miss the sub-plots and other interesting bits.

This is the story of Claire, a professional artist who is working as a copier of fine art after having been disgraced in the art world of Boston.  She is approached by a gallery owner, Aiden Merkel, to make a copy of an original Degas painting that was stolen by some unknown thieves from the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in 1990 so that Aiden can return the original to the museum.

Right away credibility is stretched.  Is this woman an idiot?  Well, the author shows us she is, explaining her infatuation with an artist, Ian, that lead to her disgrace.  Despite that painful lesson, she falls for Aiden's offer which leads her to getting accused of forgery.

The author does a good job of explaining the history of the museum (it really exists) and the theft (it really happened, just not of the picture described in the book).  There's also details of how art work is forged.
Where the story fails is in the plausibility of the main character and the tired, cliched descriptions.  I found the author's descriptions of scenes and emotions to be lacking; her similes and analogies just didn't ring true.
The most annoying part of the book is the gullibility of Claire and her loyalty to Aiden, despite him obviously being deceitful from the beginning.  I also figured out the real "thief" almost as soon as the character was introduced.  Guess I'm just not meant to read mysteries.

Published: 2012  Read: July 2014  Genre: Mystery

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