In the late seventies, after three decades of postwar prosperity, the French Miracle has stalled, giving way to crippling strikes, protest marches, fuel shortages, and increased global competition. A wave of terrorism-bank heists, kidnappings, and assassinations-also plagues France. But ex-spy and New England schoolmaster Charlie Baker is unfazed. Aiming to escape his covert past by becoming a serious painter, he holes up in Paris's Left Bank, surviving as a part-time journalist. Soon enough he's embroiled in the theft of the famous painting, L'Escamoteur (The Conjuror), by Hieronymus Bosch, in which a con man dupes an unwitting victim. While the thieves demand ransom for the painting's return, Baker comes to question its authenticity and sets out to identify the real-life scam artist who tried to pass himself off for the master. Along the way, Baker's own murky history catches up with him.
The Scam Artist: The Other Bosch, Caleb Bach's sequel to Shadowing Botticelli's Beauty, weaves true-to-life encounters with famous Latin American writers and musicians with recent fi ndings regarding the native son from 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, where, in 2016, the Bosch500 Festival will mark the quincentenary of the great artist's passing.