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The Bellini Madonna

by Elizabeth Lowry

The language of this book rich, almost florid, full of literary and artistic allusions, which suits its unreliable first-person narrator, Lynch. However, any heaviness is undercut by the wonderful gap between the story Lynch thinks he's in - a genteel thriller about a missing art work - the story he's actually in, which is country house mystery, where he's the bumbling, somewhat creepy, uncle figure. The net result is erudite and entertaining.

Extract

And so I found myself furiously churning out 'Fur Elise' in this frowsy drawing room with its dank, shabby furniture, where the air itself seemed to have the substance of a shadow, even though the August sun hung like a blazing eye outside. All at once I was struck by the futility of what I had undertaken.

Parallels

Doctrine of Labyrinths series by Sarah Monette
The Virgin in the Garden by A S Byatt
 

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