Killers are out; dealers are in. For dealers, works of art are a way to get rich – nothing more, but also nothing less. If oil is black gold, paintings and sculptures are cultural gold.
People die for metal. Dealers trade in other people’s genius and inspiration, and they will do anything to make sure a masterpiece gets in the hands of the highest bidder. Often brilliant actors, they know all the ins and outs of their business – the risks, deceptions, traps, and tempo.
The foul-mouthed seller of fakes and the pretentious gangster buyer; the immoral auctioneer with a veneer of respectability and the pensioner with one family heirloom that represents her family’s honor; the refined specialists who err by mistake and for money; museum workers; crooked law enforcement officers who make money off their jobs’ perks; the artist who will forge anything -- Malevich or Shishkin or whomever -- for a fee; illegal and half-legal grave robbers; heirs; lazy journalists; street vendors of mass-produced art; informants and antique sellers; security guards and middlemen – this is the world that the dealer must inhabit as his own in order to give and get the right price.
Dmitry Vorontsov is one of the best dealers in the city that the local wits called Nowsburg. He knows where everything is and how much it costs. He is smart, well-educated, clever, and very successful. In his not-so-savory business, Vorontsov can’t help but get into sticky situations. But each time, something helps him get out. Maybe it’s providence. Or maybe – conscience, that seemingly old-fashioned, out-of-date, and consequently worthless relic of the past. But only people who have forgotten the past are orphans.
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