An Instance of the Fingerpost: A Novel Paperback
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"Anyone who reads this will want to tell their friends about it... This is a novel that combines the simple pleasures of Agatha Christie with the intellectual subtlety of Umberto Eco, don't let it pass by unread" Sunday Times "A fictional tour de force which combines erudition with mystery" -- P D James "The kind of book that has you reading it by torchlight under the bedclothes. An historical detective story set to rival The Name of the Rose, it provides the rare pleasure of combining an intricate plot with insight into the political intrigues of Restoration England" The Times "Pears brings to life a vibrant 17th-century world...a tour de force" Daily Telegraph "Brilliantly researched and imagined...a remarkable achievement" Sunday Telegraph --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Iain Pears was born in 1955. Educated at Wadham College, Oxford, he has worked as a journalist, an art historian and television consultant. He is the author of six highly praised detective novels, which include The Raphael Affair, The Bernini Bust and An Instance of the Fingerpost. He has also written a book of art history and countless articles on artistic, financial and historical subjects. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
For this book is not primarily a story about the solving of a murder. The murder itself serves more as plot device to bring the four narrators (and others) together in a certain time and place, allowing them to interact with each other and present their widely diverging views of events, actions, and consequences. Indeed, for three of the four narrators the murder is almost incidental to their narratives, only two of them are actually concerned (or even desirous) that justice be done, and none of them is especially sorrowful about the death of the murder victim. Rather, for each of them the murder is really only significant for the part it plays in their own narrative and what they believe it indicates in terms of their interpretation of events. The driving idea behind the novel is not the solution of a murder, but how different people can see the same facts, or parts thereof, and draw differing conclusions - particularly when those conclusions serve to reinforce preconceived notions; and the more some people believe in the rightness of their preconceptions, the more willing they become to pervert truth to suit their ends.
This extraordinary novel is really a masterpiece of crafting. The use of the first-person narrative allows each narrator to present a depiction of himself (and his motives) very different from the way others see him, which has the effect of causing the reader to rethink and re-examine opinions formed along the way.Read more ›
We have four points of view, with varying contradictions and/or agreements, but, by its nature, only one accurate perception. The first treatise is that of Marco DaCola, an educated Venetian, aspiring to be a physician in 1660's Oxford. But first he must clear up pressing family business matters. A flamboyant and articulate gentleman, DaCola finds himself without funds, and dependent upon the generosity of new acquaintances. Upon his arrival in Oxford, he is called upon to treat the mother of Sarah Blundy, the young woman finally indicted and found guilty of the crime. DaCola is out of his element, constantly adapting to the rules of the gentleman's society in which he hopes to remain. The second tale is that of Jack Prescott, a young man obsessed with clearing his father's name, besmirched with the accusation of treason. Jack Prescott is excitable with a flair for the dramatic and much difficulty with self-control. The more he learns of circumstances, the more he attempts to mold these events to his best advantage. The third viewpoint is from John Wallis, a gifted mathematician who collects diaries and assorted papers to lend credibility to his hypothesis. With a tendency toward the judgmental, Wallis is adept at cryptography, a talent which avails him intimate knowledge of circumstances. And finally, Mr.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I bought my kindle edition because I loaned my original copy out many years ago and never got it back. Read morePublished 11 months ago by michael hargreaves
The Sing of the Fingerpost is one of those novels which, initially, takes time to get into. The writing style can at times be difficult until you get used to it, and at times it... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Tobias
An enjoyable book. It is compelling - I couldn't stop reading it - and provides and intellectual murder mystery without becoming stuffy.
It is not, though, brilliant. Read more
I must confess to some bias in regard to this book: I live in the oxford college in which much of it is set. Read morePublished on June 22 2004 by Samuel J. Parkinson
This book was extremely boring. I'm a big fan of Umberto Eco, and (to a much lesser degree) Perez-Reverte, so I thought this book was a sure thing. But WOW was I wrong! Read morePublished on May 28 2004 by uti
First and foremost, this book is an excellent murder mystery. I picked it up because of the blurb on the cover by PD James and was not disappointed. Read morePublished on March 11 2004 by Sainte-Carmen
An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears relates four views of the same events taking place immediately after the restoration of Charles II in England. Read morePublished on March 7 2004 by Phillip I. Good
Reduce this book by 50% and it would still be way too verbose. The first narative was able to maintain my interest from time to time, but the second two just overwhelmed me with... Read morePublished on Dec 22 2003 by Sal Asutra
While asserting the value of religion in the face of science in "The Big Picture: what the religions of the world teach us about the nature of ultimate reality", Huston... Read morePublished on Dec 21 2003 by Anne