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3. The Art Forger, by B.A. Shapiro

Kirk very sweetly picked this up for me as a gift on Saturday. It is set in Boston (nostalgia!) and centers on intrigue and suspense around the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist, which has been a semi-obsession of mine since I was younger and my grandma gave me another mystery on the same topic. The narrator Claire, who is a rather unbelievably beautiful struggling artist, currently works as an art copyist (which is not illegal) and gets caught up in an art forgery (which is illegal), and then solves part of the famous heist. This involves mucking around in sub-basements, jail, lawyers, mysterious art journals, locked rooms, obsessive art collectors, gigantic ovens, and lots of juicy details on the techniques of art forgers. There is a nice parallel flashback storyline about an old boyfriend of Claire's, for whom she ghost-painted an artwork that was bought by MoMA, and her subsequent efforts to get rightful recognition. This is readable and fun, authentically Bostonian without being namedroppy, and with a good bit of suspense that kept me reading, even if I did guess one or two of the twists long before they arrived. The only glaring flaw, to my mind, was the unrealistic prose/voice of the "historic" letters from Isabelle Stewart Gardner to a niece. An excellent cooped-up-on-a-sick-day book overall.


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