Loooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnngggggggggggggggg Cons
August 19, 2019 4:26 PM   Subscribe

Looking for the title of this book from a comment in the recent forgery FPP:
BlahLaLa: One of my favorite novels concerns a family of forgers who, for generations, have been playing the long game: each forger makes forgeries of contemporary art of the era, using all the usual contemporary supplies—the paints, the canvas, the wood for the frame, etc.—then puts away the art to be stored for decades or even centuries, so later family members can "find" them and sell them as originals. And everything checks out because it's all authentic, except the actual artist.

Would be interested in any other fiction that deals with long term long cons like this either through family hand down or even supernatural (magic; undead; werewolves; time travel; whatever)
posted by Mitheral to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
This is Faking It by Jennifer Crusie. https://books.google.com/books/about/Faking_it.html?id=WqPbcqpNllgC. Sorry on phone so can’t embed link nicely.
posted by unicorn chaser at 4:30 PM on August 19, 2019 [6 favorites]

There's The Merchant Princes Series from metafilter's own Charles Stross. A parallel world, royal politics, unsavoury industry, and all kinds of intrigue.
posted by mce at 4:37 PM on August 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

Isaac Asimov's Foundation series (initially a trilogy, the series ended up being 7 books, plus a trilogy by separate authors -- if you go for it, read them in publication order) is about an organization which, at the twilight of a galaxy-spanning human empire, is preparing for the dark age to come. By funding the Foundation, they tell the Emperor, they can reduce the dark age from 30,000 years to a mere 1000 years by preserving the knowledge and technology of the Empire. They have the new mathematics of psychohistory which allows them to predict these major events.

But the Foundation isn't just a hidden library or education outreach; in the interregnum, they became the greatest galactic power among the fragments of the former empire.
posted by Sunburnt at 5:02 PM on August 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Spike Lee's movie "Inside Man" is about a Looong Con (note fewer o's) that you might enjoy. It knocked my socks off.
posted by forthright at 5:20 PM on August 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

There was an episode of Doctor Who from the 70s ("City of Death", notably the only episode written by then-script-editor Douglas Adams -- yes that Douglas Adams) where a plot point is that Da Vinci painted more than one copy of the Mona Lisa. So the Doctor goes back in time to Da Vinci's studio and scribbles "THIS IS A FAKE" on the blank canvases in magic marker.
posted by neckro23 at 5:25 PM on August 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Hi, it's me, BlahLaLa, and yes, Jennifer Crusie's Faking It is what I was describing. Um, spoilers?

“Everybody's crooked. The trick is to find out how they're bent.”
posted by BlahLaLa at 5:52 PM on August 19, 2019 [4 favorites]

I wouldn't necessarily describe it as a long con, or a con per se, but you might find Robertson Davies' Cornish trilogy of interest, especially the second book.
posted by sardonyx at 5:58 PM on August 19, 2019 [3 favorites]

> "City of Death", notably the only episode written by then-script-editor Douglas Adams …

If you ignore the earlier story "The Pirate Planet" broadcast during the previous season, and the later-scheduled (but never aired) "Shada". And "City of Death" was co-written with 2 others (under the group pseudonym "David Agnew").

What's really notable about "City of Death" is how much of it was recycled (along with most of "Shada") to become "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency"…
posted by Pinback at 7:14 PM on August 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland.

Time travel... witchcraft... parallel universes... Quantum Mechanics... super secret, off the books government agency... Vikings...?

Alright, sure.

Arcane multi-generational international banking conspiracy?

Ok, NOW it's a Neal Stephenson novel.
posted by Horkus at 7:25 PM on August 19, 2019 [3 favorites]

"The Vampire Lestat" series by Anne Rice has her protagonist moving through time with multiple, renewing identities managed by a team of lawyers. This process is never talked about in depth in the novels but it explained as "how this works".
posted by alchemist at 1:23 AM on August 20, 2019

I was also going to mention Robertson Davies' Deptford novels.

There's also a trio of mystery (? not entirely within the genre) novels by Kyril Bonfiglioli about Charlie Mortdecai that centers on art and antiques forgery. I found them funny for a minute and then strangely unpleasant, and got rid of them. I think someone made a bad movie with Johnny Depp that was loosely based on them. So, not a ringing endorsement, but if you're looking for books to add to your list of "long term art forgers"-themed, take it for what it's worth.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 11:29 AM on August 20, 2019

Not exactly cons (except (vagueness to avoid spoilers) maybe in the cases of those people/organizations that were supposed to be dead/understood but weren't) but The Rook and its sequel Stiletto involve various long-term (and some extremely long-term) underground-type projects passed down through families and/or organizations. If you like that kind of thing The Rook will probably make you very happy.

I've only read the first few pages of In the Garden of Iden (lack of time) but those pages describe an organization that sends people back in time to train other people from those times to do various things that eventually will enrich the organization, like preserving extinct species and hiding away works by famous artists to be 'serendipitously' discovered much later.
posted by trig at 2:02 PM on August 20, 2019

The final case in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney revolves around forgeries made seven years prior to the events of the case.
posted by one for the books at 11:31 PM on August 20, 2019

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