Annie Kincaid is an artist with an ill-kept secret. As a teenager Annie studied – and mastered – the art of the fake at the knee of her rogue of a grandfather, the master art forger Georges LeFleur. Now thirty-one and entirely legitimate, Annie owns a faux finishing business in San Francisco and is proud to say that she hasn't been arrested for forgery since the eve of her seventeenth birthday.
As Feint of Art opens, Annie has a midnight assignation with Ernst Pettigrew, the head curator of San Francisco's snooty Brock Museum and Annie's ex-boyfriend. Ernst asks Annie to evaluate the Brock's newest acquisition, a priceless Caravaggio painting called The Magi. Annie immediately recognizes not only that The Magi is a fake, but also who forged it. When a Brock employee is murdered and Ernst disappears, Annie reluctantly becomes embroiled once again in her grandfather's group of art felons, forgers, and fakes.
At the same time, Annie has one week to find some stolen drawings in order to collect a reward that will help her to stave off eviction from her studio. Coincidentally – or is it? – the search for the drawings leads her to the same evasive Polish art forger responsible for the fake Caravaggio. The confusion increases when Annie discovers yet another forgery of the Caravaggio, this one painted by none other than her grandfather Georges.
As the mystery unravels, Annie runs into and after a number of offbeat characters: a handsome art thief posing as an Egyptologist; a new landlord who runs an art security business; a well-liked art dealer in debt to a loan shark; the Brock Museum matriarch and her addict of a nephew; a lovesick Bosnian; a wealthy society matron with a taste for purloined art; an emaciated model and her sister, a small-time fence; and a host of villains with a variety of motives for stealing and forging fine art. Throughout, Feint of Art describes Old Master techniques, methods of forgery, and recipes for faux finishing.
This report prepared by Julie Lewis