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Escher Twist [Mass Market Paperback]

Jane Langton
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 31 2002 Homer Kelly Mysteries
An exhibit of the work of the Dutch artist M. C. Escher is being held in Cambridge, Massachusetts, home to amateur sleuths Homer and Mary Kelly and their friend Leonard Sheldrake. At the exhibit, Leonard, an avid Escher fan, falls instantly in love with a woman in a green coat who is equally enthralled by Escher's brilliance. To Leonard's dismay, she hurriedly leaves the exhibit, hinting to him that if he knew her better, he would not love her. Homer and Mary offer to help a now desperate Leonard find the woman but end up in an Escher-like labyrinth of their own. Enhanced with Escher illustrations throughout, Langton creates a world where every line, curve, and angle lead to murder.

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From Publishers Weekly

Relying on the illusory art of Dutch printmaker M.C. Escher as a binding device and a source of clues, Langton's 16th offbeat Homer Kelly book follows crystallographer Leonard Sheldrake as he pursues the enigmatic Frieda, who disappears after they meet at an Escher exhibition at a Cambridge, Mass., art gallery. The mystery here is less about the murders that crop up occasionally in this whimsical narrative than about identity. Who is this Frieda, and who is her vindictive cousin Kitty? There's a dead baby in the past, but whose? And who was responsible for its death? Amateur sleuths Homer and wife Mary help Leonard in his search, while Leonard's own personality blurs as he drifts between reality and the twisted world of Escher's art. Langton deftly describes Cambridge and environs, given shading, as it were, by Escher's images, though readers unfamiliar with the region may be puzzled by passing allusions to such local landmarks as the T and the ship Old Ironsides. The characters hold interest throughout, except for Homer himself, whose disposition hasn't improved since his last outing, Murder at Monticello (2001). Here he's reduced to "grumbling," "growling," "glowering" and "gloom." Langton fans will lament the absence of her own charming drawings, but the Escher artwork that decorates the text offsets this loss. The geometrically challenged gazebo on the cover is a real eyecatcher. Those with a taste for lighter detective fare will find this an eerily quirky read for a winter's night. (Feb. 4)Achievement Award.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Homer Kelly ex-cop, attorney, and Thoreau expert decides to help his friend Leonard find a woman. This is not just any woman, however, but one who likes the Dutch artist Escher, commiserates with Leonard, then disappears. Homer's puzzling search uncovers more than secrets and murder. A long-lived and worthy series.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Based on the drawings of M C Escher May 29 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Escher Twist is lots of fun for anyone who enjoys the drawings of M C Escher. This Boston-based murder mystery is illustrated throughout by reproductions of his art work, including those persistent ants on their twisted band of paper.
Like Escher's parade of ants on the Möbius strip, the characters march around and around and end up back where they started. Like Escher's "Birds and Fish", The plot has repeating patterns that change subtly over time until they turn into something quite different. The images in Escher's "Reflecting Sphere" become Doppelgänger. (How many women in green coats? How many shy Leonards?) Most dramatically, there are the stark contrasts of dark and light: Here is love and hate; joy and tragedy; kindness and malevolence.
The husband and wife detective pair of Homer and Mary Kelly struggle to relate the people in torn pieces of family photographs. Which is up and which down? Who is parent and who child? And just as the puzzle pieces begin to fit, the pattern breaks up again like a surreal dream. By the way, just in case you rushed to read the book without checking its cover, count carefully how many pillars there are in the pagoda.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Lovely Math Mystery Feb. 24 2004
By MZ
Format:Mass Market Paperback
First off, I have never read Jane Langton before. I picked this book up from the New Mysteries section of my local library, based entirely on its intriguing cover (yes, I judged the book based on its cover).
Having never read Jane Langton before, I knew only what the back of the book stated. After reading it, I am ready to rush out and find more of her books.
I give this book five stars because it grabbed me. And it grabbed me right away. The characters were fascinating from the get-go, especially the way they were introduced. I have never been to Cambridge, but I felt that Langton painted the town with vibrant yet surreal colors.
In addition, this book contained a lot of math concepts that I did not know about before, but were presented in such a way as to not seem confusing or above my head. In fact, I had to make my own Moebius Strip just to see for myself how wonderful they are. The theme was well carried in this book. Big thumbs up! A mystery like no other I have read. Cannot wait to read another one.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not her best effort Dec 3 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I am a big fan of Jane Langton's, having read all but two of her earlier Homer Kelly mysteries (no longer in print). I have to say that while this book is better than most mysteries being sold today, it is not great in comparison with her earlier efforts.
In this entry, Homer & Mary Kelly set out to help a man, Leonard Sheldrake, find a woman with whom he has fallen in love (at first sight while at an Escher exhibition in a museum). The woman is not easy to find as she is attempting to avoid one of her relatives, a woman set on vengeance for the death of her baby.
The plot of this book is not as complicated as others by Ms. Langton but still was sometimes a bit confusing for me, particularly with regards to some torn up photographs found by Leonard. I had to read the paragraphs describing the pictures a couple of times to get the images straight in my mind and even then I am not for sure that I had it all correct.
But, when all is said and done, this is a good book and I would recommend it to anyone, particularly if they are already familiar with the series.
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