Monday, July 03, 2006

Mystery Book Review: Feint of Art by Hailey Lind

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has published its review of Feint of Art by Hailey Lind on its website. For our blog readers, it is reprinted here in its entirety.

Feint of Art by Hailey LindSynopsis (from the publisher): At age ten, Annie Kincaid was declared a prodigy when she painted a perfect Mona Lisa. A similar copy at seventeen made her a crook. Lesson learned: Genuine art is priceless, and forgery gets you arrested. Now Annie is putting her artistic talents to honest use as a faux finisher in San Francisco. But her past may not be painted over as well as she thought ...

Annie's got bad news for her ex-boyfriend, curator Ernst Pettigrew: The snooty Brock Museum's new fifteen-million-dollar Caravaggio painting is as fake as a three-dollar bill. Then, the same night Annie makes her shattering appraisal, the janitor on duty in the museum is killed -- and Ernst disappears. To top it all off, a well-known art dealer has absconded with multiple Old Master drawings, leaving forgeries in their places. Finding the originals and pocketing the reward money will help Annie get her landlord off her back. But a close encounter with a fickle yet charming art thief could draw her into the underworld of fakes and forgers she swore she'd left behind ...

Review: Towards the end of Feint of Art, the first in a new mystery series by Hailey Lind featuring reformed art forger and current faux finisher Annie Kincaid, Annie ponders the situation in which she finds herself and deems it "overly complicated". The same can be said of Feint of Art. This is not necessarily a negative criticism, but there is easily enough material here for two books. So much happens in this mystery, what with a large cast of characters having suspicious relationships and multiple pieces of disappearing and reappearing artwork, it is virtually impossible to keep track of it all.

And it probably doesn't much matter. Feint of Art is like a roller coaster: the thrill is in the ride. Lots of twists and turns and a blur of details along the way.

Each chapter is prefaced with a quote from Annie's grandfather's unfinished and unpublished manuscript, Reflections of a World-Class Forger. The quotes are informative, fascinating, and frequently quite entertaining. It would be best if Lind keeps grandfather Georges at a distance in future books where he remains worldly and mysterious. But continue with the quotes; they are a treat in and of themselves. Finally, no surprise here, the book concludes with a recipe for a faux finish, Annie's Basic Old Master Glaze.

Though a bit overwritten in places, Feint of Art is a fine debut to a mystery series that shows a lot of promise.

Special thanks to Hailey Lind for providing a copy of Feint of Art for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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