Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Thus Was Adonis Murdered

Thus Was Adonis Murdered

Sarah Caudwell

Date: 01 June, 1994   —   $5.99   —   Book

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Fiction, Mystery

There are times when I am reminded very strongly of the phrase that "England and America are two countries divided by a common language." Not that this book has any of those Britishism that Americans find so impenetrable, but that the customs, in some ways, are so incredibly different.

I am specifically referring to the covey of lawyers that is at the heart of the book. I'm not sure they're actually called lawyers over there, but I do know that they are not, very specifically, solicitors, which is what we think of when we think of lawyers who work in court for the prosecution or defense. I do know that they get into their robes and wigs— that's right, white wigs— before going to court.

That seems strange to me.

At any rate, we are introduced to this young group by Professor Hilary Tamar, an Oxford scholar of indeterminate gender who pretends to greater scholarship than is displayed. (As the book is written in the first person, the high-flown psuedo-modesty is quite amusing in face of the contrary evidence.) Professor Tamar is, however, the brains of the brainless (though intelligent) bunch, and when scatter-brained Julia is held for murder in Italy, Tamar must figure out what really happened, and from a distance.

Not that they'll give any credit to the long-suffering Scholar...

Quite amusing if you are used to pulling subtext out of your reading. If you have a tendency to take your fiction at face value, you'll miss a lot of the irony of the descriptions and characterizations.

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