Saturday, March 16, 2013

farewell, flesh

I found Farewell to the Flesh in my local library's on-going book sale. I hadn't heard of Edward Sklepowich before; he's written a bunch of books, but this is only the second. Sklepowich started writing about Urbino Macintyre in 1990, with Death in a Serene City, and has now written a total of nine, the latest is from 2009.

Urbino Macintyre is an expatriate American, living in Venice as a writer/biographer in a little palazzo palazzino, no? left to him by his mother. Nice gig. It appears that Macintyre has joined the ranks of that strange group of fictional characters that death and murder follows around so closely that one can't help wondering why they have any friends at all. From Miss Marple, to Nero Wolfe, to Jessica Fletcher--why would anyone ever go near these people? Death clings to them like shadows on tombstones. yeesh, am I the only one?

Macintyre is an easy to like character--if one ignores the aforementioned Death wrapped around him like a boa constrictor--who goes about his crime solving business in a pretty professional manner, and then just puts his mind to it. Sklepowich writes a pretty subtle mystery if this one is any indication. I mentioned to my wife at about the half-way point that a little while ago it seemed as though it could really only be one person who had done this deed, but a little while later, I had reason to believe that just about everyone in the book had done it.

What I didn't like so much is that Macintyre had access to information that the reader doesn't, either it was because he had guessed it, and hadn't revealed it in conversation, or because he had learned it at some point and that wasn't included in the prose. I think the former is probably the case, but critical information nonetheless, and I couldn't help thinking; How'd he figure that out?

Sklepowich lectures at the University of Sousse in Tunisia, and also spends time in Venice and New York. Sklepowich's mother is Italian, like Macintyre, so he's writing what he knows. I wonder if Macintyre inherited a palazzo from his mother as well.

If I saw another, I'd pick it up, but I'm not rushing out to buy them all. If you like the mystery thing, it was pretty good. This also takes place during Carnevale in Venice, a serendipitous time to read this book.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Say it, I want to hear it...