The glories of Venice

I have only just discovered the detective novels of “Sarah Caudwell,”:amazon Claud Cockburn’s daughter by Jean Ross (who was the original of Sally Bowles). They got great reviews when she died a few years ago, but I loathe the puzzle element of detective stories. All the qualities of my mind which are in some circumstances advantageous — chilefly an ability to make leaps of sympathy, and to see how things would be if something else were true — make me easy for the malevolent writer to hoodwink. So I made no effort until I found one in a book sale yesterday and devoured it in an evening. The voice of the heroine is distinctive and might appeal to more people than me:

bq. “Venice, as one sees from the map in Ragwort’s guide, consists essentially of three large islands, though subdivided by canals into a great many smaller ones. Two of the three lie curled together, divided only by the Grand Canal, in an embrace of such Gallic sophistication as to prevent my pursuing further the anatomical analogy. To their left, excluded from their intimacy, the long thin island of Giudecca stretches out alone, a parable in geography of the hazards of a _partie a trois._ For consolation, like a divine hot-water bottle, it has at its foot the little island of San Giorgio Maggiore.”

There is something about Venice which brings this out in English writers. Spike Milligan, in the last volume of his war memoirs, is sent there with a concert party: %(sane)”Wasn’t the city resting on piles? Yes; it was agony for the people underneath.” %

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4 Responses to The glories of Venice

  1. I’m sure you meant to link to her books…

  2. acb says:

    In what sense did I not? All that I didn’t do was the fancy link which gets me a cut of the proceeeds.

  3. So I see now, but when I first tried it, just before complaining, I got only to the amazon front page. Guess it was an amazon site fault at the time.

  4. qB says:

    Hmm.. Venice… detective… I’ve just spent my entire holiday reading Donna Leon‘s Venice-set detective novels. But she’s American which must explain the absence of anthroprosexing in her prose.

    I love the genre. Appeals to all the qualities of my mind which are seldom if ever advantageous.

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