The Forgers by Bradford Morrow
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Our narrator and main character, Will, whose name is first mentioned about 100 pages into the book, is an art forger. He considers himself a master, but the police and the art world consider him a convicted felon. He doesn’t forge paintings or checks. His specialty is calligraphy. He buys legitimate first editions of rare books and adds forged inscriptions to enhance their value. He’s in love with Meghan, a bookshop owner but her brother Adam disapproves. Will swears off forgery after his conviction and vows to be true to honest Meghan. Then Adam turns up dead one day and Will suspects another forger named Slader, a rather nasty character. But there’s no proof.
Morrow writes with a literary elegance, although he can at times lay it on too thick. He used cerulean twice, once describing the sky as a cerulean dome and the other referring to Meghan’s eyes. Cerulean is a word to be used only once in a book. There are other words for blue. He used hynagogic and hynopompic in the same sentence. Another long word, pretentiousness, comes to mind while reading this. Even so, it’s an enjoyable read, with lots of goodies for those enamored of all things literary and outdated – calligraphy, inks, manual printing presses with gothic print slugs and fine bond paper, and, of course, Irish poets and the like.
About halfway through the book a jarring turn of the plot had me scratching my head and turning a sour eye on the author’s abilities. It just didn’t make sense … unless …. well, I hoped he wouldn’t go there, but he did. It may have resolved the strange turn, but it didn’t make the overall reading experience better. In the end, I can say it was a worthy read even if the author took a lazy route in a couple of ways.