This new novel by Iain Pears, Stone's Fall, was keeping Cornflower awake nights because she couldn't put it down, so I requested it from the Spokane Library, thinking to look it over and send it back. I've been so dissatisfied with most of the books I've been reading lately (with the exception of D E Stevenson, whom I heard about from Book and Opera Lover) and Grace Livingston Hill (many of whose works I acquired years ago thinking I was going to write a paper about the values expressed in these intensely religious popular novels.)
Since I have recognized my mood, though not before giving up on or writing negatively about a few books that would probably please me at another time, I've been reading a lot of nonfiction and skimming literary fiction to make note of books to read later when I'm more intellectually fit to do so.
Then came Iain Pears and this marvelous novel, with a complicated plot and complicated characters, including the scintillating Mme Robillard (or Elizabeth, Lady Ravenscliff, as she once was.) The blurb and the reviews promise an examination of international high finance and politics, the "golden age" of pre-WW I intrigue, and the beginnings of the 20th century arms race. The novel stretches from 1953 back to 1867 - the chronology is backwards - and it moves from London and Paris to mid-19th century Venice.
I've only just started the book and so I have 500 more pages of this bounty to look forward to. Patricia Wentworth, Dorothy Eden, Mignon Eberhart, and Faith Baldwin are going to have to wait.