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Thus Was Adonis Murdered Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 1994
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About the Author
Haddon trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama where she won several awards prior to joining the BBC Radio Drama Company. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Top Customer Reviews
I just finished the book and I found it most delightful. It contains a very brilliantly-constructed conundrum of the "whodunnit" variety. Julia Larwood, one of a group of young barristers who are friends with Prof. Tamar, goes to Venice on holiday, only to wind up in bed with the corpse of the young man she's fancied throughout the trip and finally managed to engage in a one-afternoon stand. (Of course, when she first got into bed with the young man, he WASN'T a corpse, which makes his subsequent dispatch all the more distressing ...) Naturally, members of the Venice police force don't take kindly to this set of events, particularly when Julia's personally-inscribed copy of that year's Tax Finance Act is found lying next to the stiffening body ...
From London, then, Prof. Tamar and Julia's other friends at 62 New Square (Selena, Cantrip and Ragwort - all intriguing personalities in themselves) attempt to help solve the mystery and spring Julia out of jail. What follows is an erudite, often hilarious, web of intrigue, frustrated passion and outright chicanery told in VERY tongue-in-cheek style by Prof.Read more ›
As someone who conducts research for a living, I was particularly amused by the following, as Hilary (our narrator of indeterminate gender) makes his/her way to work:
"On my first day in London I made an early start. Reaching the Public Record Office not much after ten, I soon secured the papers needed for my research and settled in my place. I became, as is the way of the scholar, so deeply absorbed as to lose all consciousness of my surroundings or of the passage of time. When at last I came to myself, it was almost eleven and I was quite exhausted: I knew that I could not prudently continue without refreshment."
This quotation give the flavor of the whole book, really the entire series. If you turn to mysteries for their psychological characterizations or examination of the dark side of life, this book will not do it for you, but if you love intelligent satire, Caudwell can't be beat.
This is a fun book but there are some references which will be lost on Amercan readers unfamiliar with british college rivalries and customs. The humor is dry, the sardonic commentary reminiscent of Austen, Wodehouse and Coward. The plot is unusual, but the writing is terrific. What other book can make the Tax Finance Act amusing?
This is drollery and high humour in sombre throwaway lines. Some things I had to read a couple of times to understand - and in the midst of it all is a very nice and complicated murder mystery. Made more complicated of course because our protagonist, Hilary, insists on solving it (at a distance) and in the most complex way possible. A great deal of fun all up as it happens.
The mystery to solve is just who murdered the beautiful Adonis (or Praxiteles as Julia also refers to him) for whom she had a brief but exciting fling on a Artists tour of Venice. Julia is the prime suspect - she was the last to see him alive - and a copy of her tax code is lying by his bed. They share an interest in the subject she being a barrister specialising in tax and he being one of the revenue.
Much of this is done in the epistolary form -ok I mean by letter but as the rest of the novel ascends into the polysyllabic at the slightest opportunity then I figure so can I. But it does it in a very good natured way and with immense humour bubbling underneath. All because Julia is completely hair-brained - she is very intelligent but cannot find her way around anything in real life so she has gone where she can least harm to any one - advising on tax positions. Hilary, our narrator is lovely, warm and slightly pompous with it. And the other characters are vaguely ditsy in their own ways too. It is a joy to read.
If you like Janet Evanovich, Jilly Cooper, Nancy Mitford, or E F Benson I feel sure this would be a great author to get into. The pity is that there are only 4 novels.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Loved it! Like other readers, the main source of enjoyment for me was not the mystery itself, but the hilariously understated narrative style of Professor Tamar and the letters... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Durendal
At least we got four books from Sarah Caudwell before she passed, but I miss hearing from Hilary, Julia, Serena, Ragwort, Cantrip and Timothy.Published 7 months ago by Librarian
A wickedly funny book (British humor) with characters that are mostly young barriesters and a narrator professor that you never know if they are a male or female. Read morePublished 9 months ago by KDL
Sarah Caudwell's books are a literary treat. The characters are well drawn, the dialog entertaining and the story enjoyable. I have read them all - sadly not too many of them. Read morePublished 15 months ago by ClaireK
A witty and interesting book, told mostly through letters. The mystery itself is interesting, but most of the fun is in the telling.Published 19 months ago by Graham Powell
Style-wise, I'd give it 5 stars--Ms. Caudwell is/was a terrific writer; very funny in a very British sort of way. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Sensible Cat Rescuer