Sir Henry Fortune, celebrity curator, has vanished. So too has his partner in love and money, disreputable art dealer Jason Pringle. Panic spreads throughout the London art world when more people go missing. No one can locate Anastasia Holliday, sensational Abject artist; Jake Thorogood, the critic who catapulted her into stardom; or Dr. Hortense Wilde, notorious for having influenced generations of art students to despise craftsmanship.
Hysteria hits the media when it is found that the common link between the victims is that their careers blossomed when they embraced newly fashionable conceptual art. Could it be that they are hostages? If so, why? Ransom? Revenge?
Who will be next? Will it be Sir Nicholas Serota, mighty overlord of British temples of the avant-garde, or the internationally renowned young British artist Damien Hirst, whose dross became platinum? Is danger in store for Charles Saatchi, megarich husband of a TV cook and the genius who took talentless young people and turned them into a winning brand?
When news comes of a disappearance in New York, the fears of the art establishment go transatlantic, with even such stars as Jeff Koons at risk.
Next the friends of Lady (Jack) Troutbeck report her missing, too, she a standard-bearer of conservative values in education and art who recently described admirers of conceptual art as knaves and fools. The police are bewildered. And then begin the horrifying Hommage murders, lethal satires on notorious works of art.
Can Troutbeck’s friends rescue her before her worst fantasies become reality?
Ruth Dudley Edwards, a historian, novelist, biographer, and journalist, has won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Gold Dagger Award, and the National University of Ireland Prize. Her novel Corridors of Death was named a 1982 New York Times Notable Book.
©2012 Ruth Dudley Edwards (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"British/Irish author Edwards is in top form as she skewers conceptual art ('pretentious, specious, nihilistic rubbish’) and its practitioners.… Edwards is a master of delightful, biting satire, whether demolishing real or imaginary poseurs." (Publishers Weekly)
"A raucous send-up of the art world’s collectors, critics, curators, and especially those postmodernists who call themselves artists.… Imagine And Then There Were None written with wicked humor and a major grievance about money, not taste, ruling the art world." (Kirkus Reviews)
I love Ruth Dudley Edwards, a bristish mystery with lots of dark humor. I loved Bill Wallis's narration of all the previous books, he brought great identity to each character. This new narrator fell flat and made it difficult to identify who was speaking as there was little difference from one characters portrayal to another.
trying to see the world with my ears
At first I thought Audible mistakenly placed this in the Arts and Entertainment category rather than mystery - but maybe not. RDE's mysteries never start with a corpse, and usually I love her set-up and backstory, but this novel began with almost an hour discussion of post-modern art. Unlike "Carnage on the Committee", where you do not need to know about Booker-like novels to engage with the satire (although it helps), this may require knowledge about post-modern art to get all the humour.
Fans of the series might wonder if the new offering focuses on Lady Jack or on Robert Amiss - but really the focus is the issue (critique of so-called experts in art), and the novel is weaker for that.
For me, Wallis is the voice of both Troutbeck and this series. Usually I like narrator McCaddon/ Doneda Peters, but not for this series - though it was funny to hear her prim voice repeatedly say the F word - which was sprinkled liberally around this novel compared to the others in the series. Is it even used in other instalments? Maybe Wallis slips it by my ears. Still, McCaddon is very competent; those who think Wallis over-the-top as Troutbeck might like the change.
Only Plutarch the cat was in top form here. I'd recommend any other mystery in this series, unless you are interested in the post-modern art angle.
I am extremely fond of the Robert Amiss/Jack Troutbeck mysteries and my favorite way to experience them is through audio. I have spent many pleasant hours enjoying their exploits in the past through the talent of Bill Wallis, so I was unsure whether I would like Wanda McCaddon's narration as much. I am happy to say that she does a very nice job of Killing The Emperors. I really only have one complaint about the narration. Someone forgot to brief Ms. McCaddon on the proper British pronounciation of Featherstonhaugh (a club featured in both "Killing The Emperors" and an earlier entry in the series "Clubbed To Death") Strangely, it is pronounced Fanshaw. A minor thing to be sure, but it did grate on me. But I digress. I thought "Killing The Emperors" was great fun as well as being very instructive about the world of conceptual art. I would recommend "Killing The Emperors" to anyone who enjoys mysteries with memorable characters and snarky humor.
I have enjoyed all the other Robert Amiss books but after an hour of nonstop rambling, I had to give up on it. Also the change to a different reader did not help.
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