Wednesday, November 04, 2009
I am very picky about writing styles. Have you noticed? I don’t like (and won’t read) badly written books. I will, however, sometimes read a decently written book* with a lousy plot. Caravaggio’s Angel fits into this category. I am a sucker for art mysteries and picked this up by chance. It’s about a museum curator who is putting together an exhibition of Caravaggio paintings. Some paintings are missing; others are of dubious quality. Still others are suddenly unavailable for loan due to unexplained intransigence on the part of their purported owners. The curator (Reggie Lee) must sort all this out.
I didn’t like Reggie and I didn’t like her methods. I also didn’t like all the extraneous clutter that littered the story (a Surrealist plot from the 1930’s; a loathsome French politician who does his best to thwart Reggie’s work, but yet to whom Reggie is inexplicably attracted; Reggie’s ill-advised fling with a French journalist who happens to be married to Reggie’s friend Delphine). Despite these complaints I was driven to finish it. How bad could it get? Pretty bad, in the end. Apparently this is the first book in a planned series about Reggie. I think I’ll pass on the rest of them.
*An editorial complaint: I hate the verb “to google.” It’s likely to move out of fashion, and can easily be replaced by the phrase “to search the Internet.” Shame on the lazy editor who allowed this to get through.
(Book 37, 2009)