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Pieter Stouten's Profile

Customer Reviews: 2
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Helpful Votes: 19

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Pieter Stouten RSS Feed (Mechelen, Belgium)

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Murders by the Book
Murders by the Book
Price: $2.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor book: grating style, 2D characters, unrealistic plots. Beware: this is not by the Robert Harris!, December 25, 2014
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An atrocious read. The style is grating, like Clive Cussler's, but Cussler manages to spin a very good yarn, where Harris fails miserably. The characters are wafer thin and the plot is completely unbelievable.

A professional killer, who goes to great lengths to maintain her anonymity, lets herself be tricked in revealing who she is by being lured to a specific spot in a library. That spot is related to her initials, but there is no way "the client" could have known her name or initials. The moment, however, the killer was asked to go to this specific spot (by a note, supposedly from the client), she would have realized her cover had been blown and she should have run away immediately. She did not do that because the protagonist had arranged for some confusion (her father supposedly had suffered a heart attack) and the killer was so affected by that that she went to the specific spot in the library anyway and was caught. I really tried to suspend my disbelief, but this plot was so unrealistic I could not.

The identity of the client, the other "mystery" in the book was already clear the moment he revealed he had lost his wife 2 years earlier. There were only a dozen or so characters in the book and really only one could be the client.

Finally, the author of this book is Robert W Harris, not to be confused with the Robert Harris, famous for master pieces such as Enigma, Fatherland and An officer and a spy. I cannot be sure dropping his middle initial was a ploy to ride the real Robert Harris's bandwagon, but according to, like me, many people that bought books by the real Robert Harris also bought Murders by the book, much to their ennui, no doubt.

Portraiture (Oxford History of Art)
Portraiture (Oxford History of Art)
by Shearer West
Edition: Paperback
Price: $21.77
65 used & new from $6.83

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and fascinating book, October 25, 2005
If you are an art lover, connoisseur, art history student, fashion designer, or someone who wants to explore the mysterious world of portraiture this book is an excellent choice. The author assumed the difficult task of providing a clear, comprehensive overview of the history of portraits and portraiture from the ancient world, through the Renaissance to modern art.

I would give this book the best rating possible. You ask why? The answer is simple. As an art lover, I am particularly interested in the evolution of portraits and portraiture of the Renaissance and Baroque and this book covers the whole range of my interest and beyond. In this lavishly illustrated book the author, Shearer West, explains why the portrait as a work of art occupies the central position in art history, gives easy to remember definitions of portraits and portraiture, and studies the diversity of portrait forms and functions. She discusses in-depth how portraiture changed and developed over the centuries and paints a unique, intriguing relationship of artist, sitters, patron/s and viewer. She also reveals who and why commissioned the portraits and how a portrait can reflect and represent the social status of the sitter (rich or poor, powerful or subjugated, professional or servant) in different historical periods. The history of portraiture could not be completed without a broad-range of methods and tricks, sometimes very funny, used by artists to present themselves to the publicity. Her investigation of the complexities of contemporary ortraiture, of the 1950's onwards, is clear and convincing. This fascinating book is enriched with 146 high quality illustrations with well written, highly informative commentary to each painting.
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