Saturday, March 01, 2014

Lyn Hamilton. The Etruscan Chimera (2002)

     Lyn Hamilton. The Etruscan Chimera (2002) The narrator, Lara McClintoch is looking for an extremely rare antiquity: a bronze Etruscan sculpture of a chimera. After various machinations, which have apparently advanced her to favoured buyer status, she returns to the chateau where the owner keeps the treasure, only to find him dead, apparently having fallen into an underground strong room.
     It was at this point that I stopped reading. The writing is competent enough, but the tone too cutesy for my taste. The characters are shallow, both as narrative devices and as persons. The whole thing feels too much like a lightweight TV drama, of the Jessica Fletcher (Murder She Wrote) type, albeit updated for early 20th century consumption, with hints of sex, alcohol, and other vices. I don’t mind fluff, but it has to be fluff confected to my taste, which this wasn’t. I’m sure there are people who did enjoy this book. The novel is labelled “an archeological mystery”, but the setting is actually the antique business. Hamilton appears have a following (this is one of a series) and a reputation: the cover blurb announces that she’s been nominated for the Arthur Ellis Award. I won’t hold that against her. *½ (2012)

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