Monthly Archives: March 2010

Guy de Maupassant, “Alien Hearts”

This is the last novel Maupassant published before his death of syphilis in 1893, at the age of 40. New York Review Books has given us a gorgeous little volume with a period photo of a Rodin clay maquette. Color … Continue reading

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Sarah Caudwell, “Thus Was Adonis Murdered”

Sarah Caudwell wrote a short series of mysteries in the 1980s that featured a group of young, attractive barristers who managed to stumble into and out of murderous situations. The books are clever, arch, drenched in irony, not even faintly … Continue reading

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Laurie R. King, “A Darker Place”

I’d like to get a look at Laurie R. King’s royalty statements. She writes solid procedural mysteries set in San Francisco; the lead detective is a gay cop named Kate Martinelli. Then there’s the extensive series of historical mysteries involving … Continue reading

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Elif Batuman: “The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them”

Whooosh! That sound I hear is the flames taking hold as Elif Batuman burns her bridges, leaving academia behind — or so I thought. After writing The Possessed, with its hilarious accounts of graduate student cliques and academic conferences, how … Continue reading

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M.M. Kaye, “Death in Berlin”

Before she wrote the entertaining doorstop The Far Pavilions, M.M. Kaye had produced a series of very conventional murder mysteries set in exotic places. Death in Berlin dates from 1955 and my copy was published in 1986, after her big success. … Continue reading

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E.M. Forster, “A Room with a View”

Is it possible that I had never read A Room with a View? Maybe the glorious 1986 movie made the book seem unnecessary? Or maybe I read it many years ago and had simply forgotten what fun it is. Forster … Continue reading

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Wayne Johnston, “Colony of Unrequited Dreams”

This was a very strange experience. A friend recommended Colony of Unrequited Dreams. She has always been right in the past so without any research I plunged right in. And while I cannot say I enjoyed reading the novel, I … Continue reading

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