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Headlong

by Michael Frayn

Martin sees a painting which he thinks may be a great missing masterpiece. What follows is a tense but hilarious rollercoaster ride as he attempts to discover the picture's origins and to acquire it by fair means or foul - well mostly foul, actually. Pacy and very funny (I laughed to the bottom of my boots) - it reads like a farce and keeps you guessing (and cringing) right until the last page. The stuff about art is pretty interesting too.

Extract

So it's there, in the freezing breakfast-room, among the indifferent chairs, with Laura still holding the filthy newspaper she's just been scrubbing away with, and Tony looking over my shoulder, still hoping for a valuation, and Kate in the doorway ... that I first set eyes on it. On my fate. On my triumph and torment and downfall. I recognize it instantly. I say I recognize it. I've never seen it before. I've never seen even a description of it. No description of it, so far as I know, has ever been given. No one knows for sure who, if anyone - apart from the artist himself - has ever seen it.

Parallels

The Blue Afternoon by William Boyd
Thinks by David Lodge
Swimming to Cambodia by Spalding Gray
 

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