Book Review: FEINT OF ART by Hailey Lind

Series: An Art Lover’s Mystery, #1
Publisher: Signet
Released: January 3, 2006
Source: Borrowed from the library
Rating: ★★★½

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…

I’m a big fan of Juliet Blackwell (Witchcraft Mystery and Haunted Home Renovation Mystery series), so when I found out she was half of the Hailey Lind writing team, I had to read FEINT OF ART. Hailey Lind’s other half is Juliet’s sister Carolyn J. Lawes, a professor of history.

FEINT OF ART kicks off the Art Lover’s Mystery series, and introduces readers to main character Annie Kincaid. Annie spent her teenage years forging artistic masterpieces with her grandfather in Europe. But after a run in with the law, Annie decided to give up that life. Now, she runs a struggling yet respectable faux finishing company in San Francisco. However, her extensive knowledge of the forgery business is about to get her in trouble again.

Annie gets wrapped up in a murder mystery when her ex-boyfriend, the curator at the Brock Museum, asks her to determine if the new Caravaggio painting is a fake. Yep, it is, and Annie knows who painted the forgery. That same night, a museum janitor is murdered and her ex disappears. In addition to that, an art dealer approaches Annie about tracking down some priceless Old Master drawings that were stolen and forged, leading to more murder and mayhem.

I had mixed feelings about this book. It was quite interesting, yet kind of confusing at the same time. There were a lot of players in this book and a lot going on. It was hard to keep everyone straight. The cast of characters was intriguing, but there were just too many involved in some way. I liked Annie’s character pretty well, though she was a little flighty at times and made some silly moves.

On the other hand, I loved taking a look at the underworld of art forgery. Fascinating! It’s clear the authors did their research. Some of the tidbits presented – well, I had no idea!

Though somewhat chaotic, FEINT OF ART was an entertaining cozy mystery, and I will continue with the next book. I’m pleased that my local library carries the series. I think the paperbacks are out-of-print at this point.