On March 18, 1990, thirteen works of art worth today over $500 million were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. It remains the largest unsolved art theft in history, and B. A. Shapiro’s bestselling novel The Art Forger poses a deviously clever and engrossing scenario for the heist, in which the art of deception brushes up against the deception of art. In the real world, the FBI announced—on exactly the 23rd anniversary of the robbery-- that it now knows the identity of the thieves, and has started a publicity campaign with a $5 million reward for information leading to the recovery of the works in good condition (www.FBI.gov/gardner. )
“Shapiro’s depiction of the politics and personal rivalries of the art world adds considerable depth, and her accounts of the history of forging and of the technical processes that fool authenticators prove precise and exciting,” said the Washington Post about The Art Forger. Already in its fourth printing in hardcover, the book will be published in paperback in May 2013.
Boston resident Barbara Shapiro became fascinated by Isabella Stewart Gardner, known as Belle, almost thirty years ago and struggled for years while doing research to figure out a way to write about her. The heist was a shocking story, but what did it have to do with Belle, seventy years after her death' Suddenly a question came to her: What would any of us be willing to do to secure our grandest ambition' “So I expanded my cast of characters,” she says, “and gave each one a temptation their egos couldn’t resist, including Belle as well as a struggling artist willing to make the ultimate Faustian bargain.” The result is this ingenious literary thriller that was the #1 Indie Next pick among independent bookstores for November 2012 when it was published in hardcover.
Shapiro earned a PhD in sociology, specializing in deviant behavior—a good background for a novelist, she points out—and taught sociology, criminology, and deviance at Tufts University. She later switched fields and now teaches creative writing at Northeastern University. She is the author of five previous thrillers and The Big Squeeze, a nonfiction book about reducing the pressures of family and work. She has visited over thirty cities to publicize The Art Forger and has spoken at libraries, art museums, book festivals, and colleges and universities from coast to coast.
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