Monday, August 20, 2012

{review} caroline minuscule

Andrew Taylor Caroline Minuscule (1982)

    
Dougal wriggled uncomfortably in the passenger seat. He was wearing a new tweed suit, chosen by Amanda, and had had his hair cut. Amanda had insisted that they look respectable. Dougal found that respectability made him itch.
Loved this! I added this to my TBR after reading Jenny's thoughts on it at shelf love. I was not disappointed and have already got the second one in the series lined up to go. 

William Dougal is an impoverished post-graduate student in London studying, in a very desultory fashion, 'The influence of the Carolingian court on the transmission of pagan Latin literary texts in the early Middle Ages' ("so many people asked this question, and most of them changed the subject when they heard the answer").

He discovers his palaeography supervisor's garrotted corpse and, with only a photograph of a Medieval manuscript to go on, gets hopelessly entangled in a mysterious hunt for a hidden fortune. For William, we find, has a bit of a taste for puzzles, the nice things that money can buy, and… murder. The development of William's amoral side is so well done ("Why was killing so easy?"), but I'd better not give away any more. 

The other characters are nicely drawn: William's girlfriend Amanda is a wonderful piece of work, as is William's hapless fellow graduate Philip Primrose:
The ancient universities drew [Primrose] like a moth to a pair of candles; he was already singed for life. The only remaining question was which one would have the privilege of roasting him for posterity.
If you liked this... Quirky, witty and wonderful. I was reminded a little of another even more amoral hero (William is only a beginner here), Tarquin Winot in John Lanchester's The Debt to Pleasure {REVIEW}.

 

2 comments:

  1. I'm so pleased you enjoyed this! I have read the second in the series but am waiting on my library to fetch me more of them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jenny: my university's library is surprisingly well stocked with Andrew Taylor books, so I see many happy hours ahead.

      Delete

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