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An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears

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JaneConsumer
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An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears

Post by JaneConsumer » Mon September 15th, 2008, 9:29 pm

This novel fell outside my radar when it was published in 1998. It may have taken me 10 years to get to it, but I'm glad I did.

We are in Oxford in the 1660s - a time, and place, of great intellectual, scientific, religious and political ferment. Robert Grove, a fellow of New College is found dead in suspicious circumstances. A young woman is accused of his murder. We hear about the events surrounding his death from four witnesses: Marco da Cola, a Venetian Catholic intent on claiming credit for the invention of blood transfusion; Jack Prescott, the son of a supposed traitor to the Royalist cause determined to vindicate his father; John Wallis, chief cryptographer to both Cromwell and Charles II, a mathematician, theologican and inveterate plotter; and Anthony Wood, the famous Oxford antiquary. Each witness tells their version of what happened. Only one reveals the extraordinary truth.

Extraordinary may be an understatement. If you like a mystery that challenges your intellect, I highly recommend An Instance of the Fingerpost.

My review appears here.

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Ariadne
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Post by Ariadne » Mon September 15th, 2008, 11:09 pm

I read Instance of the Fingerpost about five years ago and loved it. One of my favorites of all time.

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Vanessa
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Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
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Post by Vanessa » Tue September 16th, 2008, 7:07 am

Another book which is on my TBR pile!! The title is intriguing.
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

Ash
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Post by Ash » Tue September 16th, 2008, 1:09 pm

Oh I loved that book! Its been ages since I read it, but it stands as one of my favorite HF

BTW he writes many very interesting art detective books, and has another fav of mine Dream of Scipio, that looks at three couples over turning points in our history, and how they dealt with similar issues. Very very well done.

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sweetpotatoboy
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Post by sweetpotatoboy » Tue September 16th, 2008, 1:53 pm

To be honest, I was a bit ambivalent about this one. It's several years since I read it, but I found it a bit too clever for its own good.

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JaneConsumer
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Post by JaneConsumer » Tue September 16th, 2008, 4:52 pm

Dream of Scipio

Thanks for the recommendation. I'll check it out.

I found it a bit too clever for its own good.

It was indeed clever. But I like these kind of mental exercises. I am way too easily bored. :rolleyes:

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