The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro

Claire Roth is an artist and a fake. The only successful original painting she created was signed by another artist who was struggling creatively when he was invited to produce a work for a MOMA show of new talent. This other artist was also Claire’s lover and her former art teacher, so she did not mind helping him over his creative impasse. But the episode ends in scandal and heartache.

Fast forward three years, and Claire is supporting a minimal lifestyle in Boston by making reproductions of famous paintings. No gallery will show her original work because of her involvement in the earlier scandal. But this situation changes unexpectedly when famous gallery owner Aidan Markel offers her a one-woman show and $50,000. The deal is presented if Claire agrees to create a reproduction of a famous Degas painting that was stolen at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990. Claire is not convinced the Degas that Markel shows her is indeed the original, but even if it is, how bad would it be for her to just copy it? And how awful would it be if she also took Markel for her next lover?

Mystery, passion, deception, and a dose of art history make the thoroughly enjoyable “The Art Forger” anything but painting by numbers.

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