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A bizarre whodunit spoof about critics, editors, and writers asks the question--who killed famous writer Mortimer Gussage?
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An elegant, hyperliterary thriller by the late English critic and novelist. Left unfinished at Connolly's death, it has been completed by Oxford scholar and poet Peter Levi. Stephen Kemble, the narrator, is ``an unimportant novel reviewer'' assigned to write the obituary of the very important novelist Sir Mortimer Gussage for the files of a London newspaper. But he manages to lose the obituary--or is it stolen?--while visiting Sir Mortimer at his Wiltshire home. On the morning after Kemble's arrival, Sir Mortimer is found dead, with the obituary on his pillow and a plate of poisonous fruit on his nightstand. Murder? Suicide? Or a simple heart attack? Kemble's attempt to unravel the mystery of Sir Mortimer's death uncovers what turn out to be the even greater mysteries of the old man's life--the uncertain authorship of his books, the undefined status of his ``houseguests,'' the strange goings-on of a secret society called the Gassendi Club--and embroil him in a weird love triangle with Sir Mortimer's widow and daughter. Once the mystery is solved, the Freudian elements of the plot stand forth to reveal a story that is less a matter of crime than aesthetics. Connolly's young writer-- who peers into the remains of his elder--is, in one sense, the real killer of the book, since he ends up occupying the role left vacant by his precursor's death. What begins as a mystery ends as a fable- -a rather cynical metaphor of literary ambition and success. Masterful, sophisticated, and endlessly witty. Levi's portions are unobtrusive and true to the tone set by Connolly. A delightful conceit. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Library Journal:
This literary whodunit, set in postwar Britain and replete with literary and gastronomic allusions, was left unfinished by Connolly at his death in 1974 and was completed by Levi, to whom he divulged the denouement. An aristocratic cast of suspects has gathered at the country estate of famed author Sir Mortimer Gussage to celebrate his birthday and knighthood. When Sir Mortimer succumbs later that evening to an untimely death, it falls to his young admirer and protege, Stephen Kemble, to piece together the parts of this intriguing puzzle. Kemble makes his way through drawing rooms, greenhouses, and garden mazes to arrive at a genuinely surprising ending. Levi succeeds in bringing Connolly's stylish mystery to a seamless conclusion.
- Barbara Love, St. Lawrence Coll., Kingston, Ontario
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description New York, New York, U.S.A.: Pantheon Books, 1991. Hardcover. Condition: New. Pantheon Books, New York, U.S.A., 1991. Hardcover 1st american edition. 174pp, 8vo. Absolute minor shelfwear to dj but this is A BRAND NEW BOOK UNUSED. Full refund if not satisfied. 24 hour despatch. If not pictured in this listing, a scan of the actual book is available on request. Seller Inventory # nf2239
Book Description Pantheon, 1991. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0679404333