In the Shadow of an Old Master
In January 1996, Eric Hargrave, a notorious forger who claims to have produced more than a thousand Old Master drawings, is found lying unconscious in a street in Rome. When he dies in hospital a couple of days later, Alberto Conti, an inspector from the Commissariato of Trastevere, is put in charge of the investigation. Conti begins to understand that with Hargrave, nothing is to be taken at face value; neither the forger's claims nor his work. It comes to light that the artist had been working on a new book shortly before his mysterious death - a book that could expose the many forged works hanging in museums around the world, and one that is now missing...Conti's search is going nowhere, even with the help of Guilia Vasari, a friend of Hargrave's who is keen to find the manuscript. When the book eventually appears in the hands of a London art dealer, there are many questions left for the inspector to answer but political pressure soon forces him to close the investigation. As the forger's posthumous book is being readied for publication, an unexpected turn of events sheds new light on Hargrave's dealings and a possible cause of his death. But will it be enough to reopen the case? In the Shadow of an Old Master is a thrilling read for anyone interested in the complex and sometimes murky dealings behind the glossy catalogues of auction houses or museum exhibitions and the havoc forgeries can cause in prominent auctions and gallery sales. After all, who hasn't dreamt of buying an artwork for a few pounds, only to find out it is a lost masterpiece worth a fortune?
Publication date: 2014
OPAC reference: KOHA-OAI-BCP:7806