Strings - Synopsis
Beckett Trumaine is at a crossroad. His passion for music is crippled by a composer’s form of writer’s block. His frustration and dark moods are wearing on his long marriage and he is lost in the pursuit of his deep musical roots.
He seeks out an old friend, Rolf , the ‘Duke’ Ducherstein who owns an instrument brokerage and violin shop in San Francisco. The ‘Duke’ is a genius at authenticating rare and valuable stringed instruments, one of a handful of experts on the continent. With his wife’s reluctant blessing Beck heads to San Francisco to work with him and learn all he can.
Part of his job there entails transporting elite instruments between the Duke’s shop and the brokerages of two other well known experts. It’s not long before Beck smells a rat but it’s too late. Before he realizes what’s going on he’s embroiled in an international network of thieves who are dealing in stolen instruments, issuing phony certificates of authenticity, money laundering and all manner of deceptions in the trade of high end stringed instruments.It gets dirty and the thieves exact their toll. Beck has to put a stop to them before he, the ‘Duke’, and the others who have become part of his life are ruined.
The journey of Strings actually began in 2008 when the author was tasked with selling his father’s cello. His father, a professional musician all his life, had purchased the instrument in 1964 but there was no bill of sale and no paperwork (certificate of authenticity), to identify its maker. The label on the inside on the back turned out to be a forgery, quite common in the 17th and 18th centuries. It took three years to find one of those rare experts who could actually identify the maker and who was willing to appraise it. In the course of his dealings with brokers and genius authenticators Hunter uncovered the complex and lucrative dimensions of “Violin Fraud”; theft, fraud and deception in the trade of rare and valuable members of the violin family.
The easiest way to describe Strings is to say it’s about violin fraud. But, that wouldn’t do it justice. The title Strings is a double entendre. Yes it’s about instrument fraud. It’s also about a man, later in life, faced with the imminent need for change. Beck struggles with the ties that bind him: the loss of identity associated with leaving his career in the past to pursue his passion for music, desperately seeking renewal in his long marriage to Annamarie and searching to for ways to find his deep musical roots. It’s a story of an ordinary man faced with extraordinary circumstances and in the course of events experiences growth and transformation.