reads from her debut novel Phoebe and the Ghost of Chagall (MacAdam/Cage, $24).
Phoebe is an artist making very little money designing wine labels for a winery in Sonoma. Her house is in foreclosure, she's divorced, turning forty, and beleaguered on just about every front. Enter Marc Chagall's ghost, visible only to her, who appears to help her retrieve one of his own paintings which Phoebe's father found during the liberation of Paris. Though it was meant for Phoebe's mother, it never made it into her hands.
In Koenigsdorf's debut comic novel, Phoebe and Chagall hunt down the painting in the South of France with help from a cast of characters including two witches, a San Francisco art dealer, and a misguided French innkeeper. With skill and tension this book pits characters who appreciate art for its beauty against black market dealers, evil collectors, and the mysterious German pawn hired to deliver the goods. Move over, Peter Mayle!