Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell

Titian, Rubens, and Van Dyke, it is said, always practiced their art in  full dress.

This line, though informative for history buffs, offers no clue in regards to this novel's plot, character, or even setting. It does not excite nor induce curiosity and fails to entice the reader to read on, unless they're eager for a history lesson. But isn't this a thriller? Nope. It's a historical thriller. So there. If a reader who happens to find history boring, happened upon this book, they'd groan or grunt. 

Wait a minute. Titian, Rubens, and Van Dyke are artists. Could it be that Mr. Writer is creating a clever parallel between these artists and (we hope) a character who approaches murder as an art form? This hypothesis came to me after rereading the title. Nevertheless, the first paragraph continues with an explanation of what full dress means. In case you're wondering and don't want to buy the book, it means taking a bath, dressing in fine clothes, donning best wigs and hooking up with a cool diamond-hilted sword. 

However, in conjunction with the first line of the second paragraph this beginning takes a turn for the better.

The artist of death had similarly prepared himself.

This first line of the second paragraph makes plodding through the first paragraph somewhat worth the effort. Now, we have something. The opening paragraph is salvaged, and instead of the sword, we learn at the end of paragraph two that our opening character carries a razor.

Verdict: Pass

Theodore Moracht

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