Anna Porter: Author and Publisher

Deceptions

Deceptions

Deceptions is a savvy art world thriller with a strong, independent heroine and the follow-up to The Appraisal, finalist for the 2018 Staunch Prize.

Richly atmospheric, set in Strasbourg, Budapest, and Paris, this witty, sophisticated novel will satisfy readers of political thrillers by Alan Furst and Philip Kerr. Deceptions is a thinking-person’s thriller, a romp to the last satisfying page.

Published by ECW Press in April 2021.

“One of the advantages of a lifetime spent among tigers is that you are not disappointed when they act like tigers,” reflects Helena Marsh, the art-historian heroine of Anna Porter’s intricate and atmospheric novels The Appraisal (2017) and Deceptions (2021).

If the idea that an art historian spends her lifetime among even metaphorical tigers seems paradoxical, then you will be (as I was) fascinated by Porter’s portrayal of the highstakes, morally equivocal, and often clandestine global trade in fine art masterpieces. Porter’s plots are a deft and entertaining blend of caper, crime, and thriller elements, but it’s this context as well as their setting—primarily Hungary, a place where, as one observer remarks, “the present was so deeply rooted in the past, it was not even the past”—that gives them their rich texture and unexpected depth. [continue reading]

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Watch the book launch on Facebook (recorded May 13), featuring Anna Porter in conversation with Will Ferguson, author of the Giller Prize-winning novel 419.

“In Porter’s exciting sequel to 2017’s The Appraisal, art appraiser Helena Marsh attempts to trace the provenance of a painting believed to be the work of 17th-century artist Artemisia Gentileschi…. The forgery tips alone are worth the price of admission. Porter takes readers on an exhilarating ride.” — Publisher’s Weekly

“In the latest adventure of Helena Marsh, ace art appraiser, our heroine emerges as her usual assured self. What makes this woman so eternally confident? Maybe it’s her lineage. Her father made his living as an art forger. Or, more likely, it’s her devotion to preparedness. Wherever her assignments take Helena, she equips herself with disguises and alternate identity papers. She also packs heat at all times. Her current assignment is to decide whether a painting purportedly by the Italian Baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi is the real thing, a fake or a copy. Helena is barely into the case, an investigation that drops her into the dicier neighbourhoods of Strasbourg and Budapest, when an associate is executed in broad daylight by bow and arrow. Such a death may put the reader off balance, but not Helena, and the plot proceeds in the usual Anna Porter fashion, offering sleuthing that is sophisticated, nervy and hardly ever on an even keel.” — Jack Batten, Toronto Star

“At a time when travel is impossible and Europe may as well be in Antarctica, Anna Porter’s new murder mystery Deceptions takes the reader on a grand tour of Paris, Strasbourg and Budapest, with a side trip to Rome. These are cities the author knows well, given the former book publisher was born in the Hungarian capital and, in pre-pandemic times, often travelled abroad for book fairs, launches and talks. She also accompanied her husband Julian Porter – a lawyer, art critic and author of two art books – on trips to the continent’s grandest museums, galleries and churches. In fact, the author’s second novel featuring art expert Helena Marsh, which came out April 6, took shape on a vacation four years ago… [continue reading]” — Kim Honey, Zed Book Club


In Other Words: How I Fell in Love with Canada One Book at a Time

In Other Words

In Other Words is a lively, charming, gossipy memoir of life in the publishing trenches and how one restlessly curious young woman sparked a creative awakening in a new country she chose to call home. Published by Simon & Schuster in September 2018.

“We need our own dreams.” — Anna Porter

Praise for In Other Words | Upcoming events
Anna talks to Steve Paiken on TVO’s The Agenda
Anna interviewed on The Biblio File
Anna featured on The Next Chapter with Shelagh Rogers
Anna discusses favourite Canadian books on Maritime Noon
Anna interviewed on The Commentary


The Appraisal

The Appraisal

The Appraisal, a new novel by Anna Porter, published by ECW Press in October 2017.

In the vein of Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie novels comes this year’s smart new thriller with literary chops. When wealthy octogenarian Geza Marton hires art expert Helena Marsh to buy back his family’s Titian painting, Helena flies to Budapest to close what she expects will be a reasonably simple sale. But nothing is ever simple in this beautiful, flawed city where corruption abounds.

The Appraisal was shortlisted for the inaugural Staunch Prize in the UK.


Buying a Better World: George Soros and Billionaire Philanthropy

Buying a Better World

Buying a Better World: George Soros and Billionaire Philanthropy was published in March 2015 by Thomas Allen/Dundurn, Canada.

He has been called “the only private citizen with his own foreign policy,” and there is no doubt that George Soros plays a unique and unprecedented role: a billionaire social activist pursuing his own specific ideas for transforming the world into a more progressive and democratic society.


The Ghosts of Europe: Journeys through Central Europe’s Troubled Past and Uncertain Future

The Ghosts of Europe

One of the country’s most distinguished writers and publishers returns to her roots to explore the consequences of democracy in the former Hapsburg lands. The Ghosts of Europe is a compelling exploration of power, nationalism, racism and denial in nations with a tumultuous history and an uncertain future. [more]

» Winner of the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing from the Writers’ Trust of Canada. See “Anna Porter wins Shaughnessy Cohen Prize,” Globe and Mail, February 16, 2011.


Kasztner’s Train: The True Story of Rezso Kasztner, Unknown Hero of the Holocaust

Kasztner's Train

Kasztner’s Train is the true, heart-wrenching tale of Hungary’s own Oskar Schindler, a lawyer and journalist named Rezso Kasztner who rescued thousands of Hungarian Jews during the last chaotic days of World War II — and the ultimate price he paid. [more]

Winner of the Canadian Jewish Book Award for History and the Nereus Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Prize.

“It is Anna Porter’s consummate art as a storyteller that makes this true tale of how a group of Hungarian Jews escaped the Holocaust so compelling. This is a must read that must become a must-see movie.”
— Peter C. Newman, author and Holocaust escapee