Posts Tagged ‘paris’
Witness in the Square
by Gini Anding
In the reflective tradition of Agatha Christie, Gini Anding offers another greatfor readers to pick apart. In “Witness in the Square,” we find ourselves once again in Paris with Amy Page and Jean-Michel Jolivet, deep in a plot of , intrigue, and of course, passion.
Amy is always on the verge of turning out a new article for a magazine back home in the states, always taking notes for her cookbook, and always in the thick of things on the Ile Saint-Louis, in the heart of Paris. It seems too that she is always in the midst of criminal activity, occurring unbeknownst all around her. Inspector Jean-Michel Jolivet, her lover, is recovering from a gunshot wound from one of their previous escapades and is not by Amy’s side when she is brought in for questioning in regards to ashe is somehow connected to. The victim was carrying Amy’s umbrella and so the web is woven. How very involved Amy unknowingly is, becomes key to figuring out what is going on. When a second acquaintance falls victim, the entire Ile Saint-Louis is turned upside down in concern. What could the clues left behind mean? Things that normally would not make any kind of sense, to Amy, is a puzzle to ponder. In her unorthodox fashion at figuring, Amy holds further clues that she isn’t even aware of. Jean-Michel patiently takes on the task of drawing out what needs to be known, while trying to protect his beloved. Throughout it all the couple realizes that they are indeed, a couple, and tries to understand the importance of that realization.
The plot is bigger than imagined with twists that lead to high staked risks. With points of interest that include stamp collections, hand carved earrings, Hawaii, forged passports, and terrorist activities, this is not your typical murder. Author Gini Anding goes into wonderful detail of her beloved Ile Saint-Louis, giving historical facts to deepen the reader’s experience. Hawaii’s history too is explored, as well as the use of the female form in classic art, among other tidbits.
The environments that Gini brings her readers to are rich with detail and breathing with life. If you can’t afford to travel you can always delve into a Gini Anding book! The characters are endearing and capable of living out the plot and you will be left wondering what they are up to while not in a story in front of you. This third book in a series certainly adds to the collection but it also stands alone as a fantastic read. I highly recommend “Witness in the Square” as a murder mystery with a darker side than most.
A journal is being written by a lonely man in a Paris hotel room. It starts, for its sins, on 9 August 1900. There was nothing auspicious about the date, no connection to former grandeur or glory. But there has been a chance encounter, on a rare excursion outdoors, with three young Englishmen. They recognize the journal’s author, one Oscar Wilde, and they refer to him as “she”. It is an event worth recording, an event that prompts recollection and reflection on a life.
Oscar Wilde’s life was lived in public. Through exploration, then success and fame, and finally via notoriety and disgrace the author occupied a public mind. His talent was immense, his desire to exploit it almost single-minded and his success phenomenal. In an era when stardom in the modern sense was being invented, Oscar Wilde played the stage, published, courted society and self-promoted. He pushed at boundaries, sometimes not for reasons of art, but merely because they existed. He was, after all, an outsider, an Irishman of questionable parentage, but dressed elegantly in a frock coat and mingling with the highest.
He thus became a star for a while, a center of attention, a media figure. This was nothing less than celebrity in the modern sense, except, of course, that in his case there actually was some talent and ability in the equation. He was famous primarily for what he did, not for whom he became. But then there was a change. The fame was rendered infamy by publicity he could no longer control. And that downfall killed him. A final journal entry on 30 November 1900, recorded from the author’s mumblings by a friend, Maurice Gilbert, records the event. Oscar Wilde had fallen while in prison, and had sustained an injury to an ear, an injury that festered.
Early on in his recollections, Oscar Wilde recalls George Bernard Shaw saying that, “An Englishman will do whatever in the name of principle.” Wilde’s qualification was that the principle was inevitably self-interest. It is a beautiful metaphor, because as a talented – even gifted – young Irish, Wilde was promoted and enjoyed success while ever he bolstered others’ positions. The moment he sought an assertion of his own right, however, he was disowned. Celebrity can thus rub shoulders with the rich and powerful, but only on their terms.
And it was their terms that eventually killed him. The sybaritic Bosie encountered, the desire for things Greek aroused, Wilde found himself drawn into a society he could not resist. But he remained a self-confessed voyeur, and never became a participant. He thus remained forever the outsider, on the periphery of even his own vices. But he was eventually pilloried for what he became in the public eye to stand for. It remained only a state to which he aspired, if, that is, we believe him.
The Last Testament Of Oscar Wilde thus hops repeatedly across the boundary that separates a public and a private life. Eventually the two distinct existences become blurred. Because one is always trying to be the other, with neither predominating. Peter Ackroyd’s book is a masterpiece with much to say about thoroughly modern concepts such as populism, celebrity, fame and identity.
My college art professor was fond of saying “Steal from everyone, there are no art police”. In a sense he was right and in a sense he was wrong, that is regarding ‘art police’. Throughout history, civilizations have enforced their own standards of acceptability in regards to art…sometimes more rigid, sometime less. Now days standards aren’t so rigid and the modern artist enjoys an extraordinary level of freedom to create and exhibit what he or she will. But there have been many times and many cultures in the past when art was heavily policed, and if you didn’t play by the cultural rules of the day your name was ostracized and your career was jailed.
Paris, France in the mid 1800′s was just such a culture and the novel “The Judgment of Paris” by Ross King is the thrilling account of how a loosely knit band of, , Cezanne, Whistler, and others who would dare to challenge the all powerful art police of the day, the Academy of the s.
“The Judgment of Paris” is the story of theImpressionist Movement. A more sumptuous written tale of art history you will not find. By following the careers of broad group of in Paris in the late 1800′s, those who played by the rules and those who didn’t… such as the spurned and controversial and the feted, lauded and nationally acclaimed but now forgotten Meissonier, by examining their machinations, and weaving in how their lives would be caught by the politics and events of the time, the suffrage and starvation of Paris under siege by the Prussians, the bloody communal movement, the arrogance of the ruling , the intolerance of citizens when confronted with new art forms, the power-plays of those who would work under the capricious and precarious despot, Napoleon the Third, … author Ross King takes us on a fascinating journey through the emergence of one of the most important art movements in modern history.
As a self-taught painter much of my learning about art history has been through catching the occasional lecture, talking with fellow, and skimming through art books whenever I can. I skim because rarely does an art history book grab me as a page-turner. I am happy to report that I have found that rare art history book. “The Judgment of Paris” is much more than a well-written art history book. Here is a juicy complex detailed and nuanced drama about the , the art history thriller that must be devoured and savored from cover to cover, like slowly eating a rich layered piece of chocolate cake, wanting it not to end. Luckily when you finish this book there is a second equally delicious read awaiting, King’s “Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling”.
Tara Moss’s much anticipated fifth novel in her Vanderwallseries, Siren lives up to expectations and as always leaves her fans gasping for more.
Although I do not know the author personally, her public persona appears very similar to that of her strong-willed and self-assured female protagonist – ex-model, forensic psychologist and in demand private eye Makedde Vanderwall. Without spoiling the first four novels in this bestselling series, suffice to say Moss’s protagonist Mak has been through a lot in her twenty nine years. She has lost a parent, lost friends to crime and narrowly escaped death herself on more than one occasion. Her feisty, kick-arse attitude and penchant for standing up for what she believes is right makes her a target for the worst of criminal society. Her model looks and style opens doors for her, but it is her intellect and mental toughness that gets her out of the life threatening situations she gets herself into.
Siren involves Mak’s search for a missing teenager, seeking revenge on the rich and corrupt, a hired assassin and competing male love interests. Theand intrigue heightens as Mak zeroes in on a French troupe featuring burlesque, contortion and magic acts and an aging stage . Her descriptions of both the Australian and French settings are authentic and the thorough research that went into the writing of this novel self-evident.
Moss is a masterful storyteller and to say this novel is fast-paced is certainly an understatement. Moss builds the tension page by page and does not mince words when depicting violence and its aftermath. Moss is able to keep readers guessing with her adept plotting and her willingness to go where many would not dare, conveying both tawdry and romantic human interactions with aplomb. The result is a stylish and sexy roller-coaster ride that readers will not want to disembark from. An edge of your seat– a must read.
The Author: Tara Moss was born in British Columbia in 1973. Married to an Australian poet, she now resides in Sydney and holds dual Canadian and Australian citizenship. She had a successful international modelling career and is now a professional writer and television presenter. Her novels have been published in 17 countries and in 11 languages. She holds licences in private investigation, race car and motorcycle driving and wildlife and snake handling. Her bestselling novels include Fetish (1999), Split (2002), Covet (2004), Hit (2006) and Siren (2009).