Hindered by an art scandal she was involved in before finishing grad school, Claire Roth is a promising Boston artist struggling to make ends meet. She dreams of discovery, fame, and a coveted showcase at Markel G – Aidan Markel’s renowned gallery (capable of making an artist’s career). Eking out a living selling famed reproductions through an art clearing house, Claire is stunned when Aidan asks for a meeting at her studio and offers her the proverbial deal with the devil- an opportunity to study and forge a Degas stolen in the infamous Isabella Stewart Gardner Collection in exchange for cash and a gallery showcase. Even with her checkered past, Claire finds the deal irresistible, but complications ensue when she suspects and sets out to prove the famed painting is fake.If you ever fancied yourself an artist or have hovered with interest on the doings of that world, Shapiro draws a picture that easily give you an idea of the passion and the stakes involved in the creation of works of art. Shapiro’s narrative alternates between Claire’s present day dilemma with the world and letters of a young Isabella Gardner who is fascinated with artists, and constantly traveling and buying pieces for her collection. Claire getting caught up the way that she did in a second scandal was problematic for me, but interesting to ponder. Whether you can make the same crucial error of judgement more than once, and with so high stakes. It was interesting to examine her thought process, but this worked best for me as a mystery – what happened to the art in the heist, is the painting a fake, is she in love with the wrong man? The questions were many, and The Art Forger is a smart mystery that will you on the hook and guessing almost until the end. Recommended.