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The canal runs straight from the landing-stage into the heart of what is left of Torvello's great square. Now it's not even a village green. The great stone arches of the fifteenth century bridges, the dazzling fondamento, the might of empire literally fallen and overgrown.
This is a reasonably good illustration of both the strengths and weaknesses of the Lovejoy books. On the plus side, Gash actually uses both Lovejoy's home setting in East Anglia, for the first quarter of the book, and then a richly imagined Venice where he becomes part of an industrial scale forgery operation, the details of the manufacturing fake antiques outlined in all their loving complexity. On the downside, women continue to throw themselves at Lovejoy for no apparent reason, he continues to treat them abominably, and the actual forgery plan is baroque to far beyond any point of plausibility, and the supposedly comic ending is almost identical to that of The Vatican Rip, published three years earlier. I think those who don't know the Lovejoy novels could take this as a fair sample of what they are like.

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