A thriller set in the art world, tentatively titled The Lost Van Gogh, was bought for world English rights by Jim Frenkel at Tor. The work of a husband-and-wife team writing as A.J. Zerries, the debut novel tells of an unknown portrait, originally looted by a Nazi in WWII, and its subsequent action-filled adventures in New York 50 years later. Agent Barbara Braun retains foreign and movie rights.... A new two-book deal with Iranian author Azar Nafisi, who wrote the bestselling Reading Lolita in Tehran, was signed by Ileene Smith at Random with agent Charlotte Sheedy; it's for a family memoir and a book reexamining the Western literary canon through non-Western eyes.... The photographer who put together the successful Crowns: Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats for Doubleday has signed with Janet Hill at the Harlem Moon imprint there for another round. The new one by Michael Cunningham, this time working with writer George Alexander, is Queens: Portraits of Black Women and Their Glorious Hair and was bought for six figures, North American rights, from agent Victoria Sanders .... A new novel by Edward Docx, author of the well-received The Calligrapher, was bought by Houghton editor-at-large Elaine Pfefferblit from agent Michael Carlisle; it's the story of an Anglo-Russian family with roots in a Soviet past.... A book with the catchy title The Patient from Hell was bought by Merloyd Lawrence for her Da Capo imprint; it's by a Stanford professor, Stephen Schneider, and teaches readers how to second-guess their doctors when necessary.... We got the wrong Crown editor last week for a novel called Kingston by Starlight; it was Rachel Kahan, not Klayman. Sorry.