London, 1900: while Monet paints the wintry mists over the Thames, the bodies of two young women are dragged from its murky depths arousing fears of a return of Jack the Ripper. By now a celebrated and successful artist - despite the controversy stirred up by the Impressionist movement - in the early months of the new century, Monet returned to ...
London, 1900: while Monet paints the wintry mists over the Thames, the bodies of two young women are dragged from its murky depths arousing fears of a return of Jack the Ripper. By now a celebrated and successful artist - despite the controversy stirred up by the Impressionist movement - in the early months of the new century, Monet returned to London to paint his famous Thames series. Prompted by memories of an earlier visit in 1870, the old man recalls his youthful struggles, his beloved first wife Camille and his scandalous relationship with Alice Hoschede. And now, in a frenzy of creative activity he paints the haunting canvasses that act as a backdrop to a series of grizzly, psychopathic killings. Oliver Craston, a fledgling diplomat, by chance is present when a horribly mutilated body is pulled from the Thames. Mindful of the need to steer clear of controversy, he is unwillingly drawn into the police investigation. Furthermore, with the Foreign Office nervous over French sympathies with the Boers, Oliver's new acquaintance with M. Monet and his son, who are staying in the luxury of the Savoy Hotel, is likely to raise an eyebrow or two. But on the floor above the Monets' suite, given over as a hospital for wounded officers, stalks a far greater danger...and across the river in the backstreet slums of Lambeth are visions of horror beyond even the intuition of the artist. As the naive young diplomat becomes entangled with bohemian society and the seamier side of London that the investigation exposes him to, a disturbing and unfamiliar world opens up to him. This compelling and mutlilayered novel is an atmospheric exploration of the life of an artist, a murder thriller and, like Tulip Fever and Girl With a Pearl Earring, a triumphant example of 'art fiction'. It is illustrated with 12 reproductions of the paintings themselves.
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Publishers Weekly, 2004-02-16 Vivid characters, notably Impressionist painter Claude Monet, distinguish this stand-alone historical by British author Jakeman (Death in the South of France). The shadow of the 1888 Jack the Ripper murders hangs over Scotland Yard's inquiries 12 years later into the deaths of two women whose mutilated corpses have been dragged from the Thames. Inspector Will Garrety, an honest and dogged investigator, is prepared to follow the trail wherever the evidence leads, but he's hampered by his superiors, who warn him to stay away from upper-class suspects connected with a secluded floor at the Savoy Hotel, which houses officers wounded in the vicious fighting of the Boer War. The author convincingly evokes fin-de-siecle London with its class and gender prejudices, but the early revelation of the killer's identity undercuts the suspense. Moreover, the path of the killer, whose personality will be familiar to Thomas Harris fans, never crosses that of Garrety's, making the ultimate resolution anticlimactic. Should Jakeman decide to make her detective into a series character, she might consider giving him a more challenging adversary and a better puzzle to crack in any sequel. (Mar. 2) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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