The Forger’s Forgery is a mystery which opens in Amsterdam, where visiting professor Henry Lindon enters a very different world from that of his prior employment at Southerland University in Dallas.
Here, he navigates Dutch culture, history, and a new university environment that embraces blossoming romantic possibilities, a missing painting, and a Southern University coed’s murder—along with a changing relationship with his wife, Marylou.
As this homicide detective’s murder investigation becomes increasingly tied to events beyond Dallas, readers become engrossed in a blend of murder mystery and dangerous men who understand that success is not risk free. Detective Ortiz’s relentless pursuit of a passenger list oddity could bring down long-held, lucrative plans.
Henry’s plan to foist a forgery charge on Guy Wheeless, the deceased’s uncle and the main suspect who appears to have an irrefutable alibi, sets the stage for a dangerous game. The action moves from Henry and his wife and Amsterdam experiences to perilous moves certain to set the art world on fire.
Perhaps one reason why The Forger’s Forgery is a complex mystery and yet realistic, is that it’s based on the true story of master forger Han van Meegeren, who forged the works of some Dutch masters in the 1930s and ’40s in a notorious crime that was clever, unprecedented, and difficult to solve.
Clay G. Small is masterful at his depiction of Dutch culture and peoples, the art world, and the forgers who influence its development, making their illicit money on creations that are masterfully created in their own right.
The characterization is well-developed and three-dimensional. Many of the characters move between good and questionable or bad acts, making choices that demonstrate they are not good and bad guys, but human beings who act and react in surprising ways.
As the mystery evolves, the art worlds of both Amsterdam and Texas come to life as environments influenced by forgery events that connect disparate lives and peoples, changing and challenging the art world.
Mystery readers who enjoy art history will relish the exceptional presence of both in The Forger’s Forgery.