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Killing the Emperors (Baroness Troutbeck Robert Amis) Hardcover – 26 Nov 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Allison & Busby (26 Nov 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749013354
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749013356
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.9 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 631,291 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'The latest in a comic crime series, which has, over the years, delivered hefty slaps to the rumps of various sacred cows. Here, [Ruth Dudley Edwards] takes a swipe at the world of conceptual art, with her heroine, the magnificently monstrous reactionary libertarian Baroness "Jack" Troutbeck, on splendidly splenetic form.' GUARDIAN 'For some people, the inanity of contemporary art is depressing. For Ruth Dudley Edwards, it's hilarious. I devoured 'Killing the Emperors' because I'd rather laugh than cry.' LIONEL SHRIVER, AUTHOR OF WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN 'Ruth Dudley Edwards is a master of satirical comedy writing. The Baroness Troutbeck is a wonderful invention and as a central character provides most of the humour. She is both classy and classless... This hilarious series, that points its funny finger at a corner of society, comes highly recommended, they are all very entertaining, and this is one of her best.' LIZZIE HAYES, MYSTERY WOMEN 'Teasing the cultural establishment is pure joy for Ruth Dudley Edwards. In KILLING THE EMPERORS, it is the art lobby that incurs the wrath of her alter ego, Baroness Troutbeck, a boisterous, fun-loving academic who is the epitome of political incorrectness... Fans of Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin are advised to steer clear of this book but those of us who believe that real art has nothing to do with pickled sharks or unmade beds will cheer every page of an exhilarating read.' DAILY MAIL 'An entertaining polemic against the abuses of modern art, very funny and should be required reading in the nation's art colleges, not to mention for Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Charles Saatchi and Sir Nicholas Serota (or, as Lady Troutbeck prefers, Sclerota).' THE SPECTATOR 'Marvellously entertaining ... Ruth Dudley Edwards is a crime writer whom we should treasure - sharp, intelligent and gloriously politically incorrect' MAIL ON SUNDAY 'Ruth Dudley Edwards is a fearless and serious journalist. She is also one of the most entertaining crime writers around, the author of a series that satirizes special interest groups and the political correctness that makes other commentators look away politely... Whatever posterity's verdict may be of conceptual art, this send-up should be applauded for its vigour and humour.' TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

About the Author

RUTH DUDLEY EDWARDS was born and brought up in Dublin, was a student at University College Dublin, a post-graduate at Cambridge University, and now lives in London. She has previously worked as an academic, teacher, marketing executive and civil servant, and has been a freelance writer since 1979. A historian and prize-winning biographer, Ruth has written seriously and/or frivolously for almost every national newspaper in Ireland and the UK. www.ruthdudleyedwards.co.uk

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ian Payn on 26 Nov 2012
Format: Hardcover
It's been five years since Ruth Dudley Edwards last published a novel about Robert Amiss and Baroness Jack Troutbeck. That's five long years waiting for the Baroness and her cronies to stamp on yet another absurd aspect of modern life. Now they're back, and the world of Modern Art had better watch out. Especially Sir Nicholas Serota.
A disgruntled Russian Oligarch kidnaps Jack Troutbeck (who had mocked his taste, and collection of Modern Art) as well as an art critic, an academic, a gallery owner and a slew of others involved in the art world. They are kept in a Big Brother-style house, with Hirsts on the wall and beds by Emin (the very thought of having to sleep on these is stomach churning). Daily they perform tasks and have arguments (staged, at the Oligarch's instruction, by Jack) after which Jack has to choose who was "worst". The person Jack judges to have been the Prat du Jour is then evicted. What the inhabitants of the house don't know (but Jack suspects) is that eviction means death. Rather ingeniously, this consists of the murder victims being posed as works of art in public places, in the style of Banksy, Koons etc. All the while Jack's friends and the police force (hampered by an obdurate Assistant Commissioner) try to trace her whereabouts, as the body count mounts. Jack, like Scheherezade, struggles to keep the games going as long as possible, in order to save as many people as she can.
It's all rather jolly. The language is rather fruitier than we're used to, but then if I were stuck in the Big Brother House with those pretentious idiots and made to perform foolish and degrading tasks I rather imagine I'd be effing and blinding away like a good `un as well. Although the cast of victims is large, they're by and large fairly well defined.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Douglas Anderson on 30 Dec 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the book, but, to be honest, I'm afraid I enjoyed it less than all the previous Amiss/Troutbeck books. I am a major aficianado of Dr Dudley Edwards - both for her novels and her newspaper articles. However, whilst very much agreeing with her 'political' views genrally, I hope that her nest novel will appeal to me more - if that does not appear too arrogant!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Enoch Powell on 15 May 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ruth Dudley Edwards has been known to me for years (though not personally I regret to say) but as an historian and a frequent voice on the wireless where her contributions are always cogent and enjoyable. Until now, however, she had never materialised in the fiction section of my bookcase but, on the strength of "Killing the Emperors", I can see I shall have to make more space among the "D"s as I have much catching-up to do.

This story, then, is absurd, yet believable and its premise, above all, utterly desirable. The telling is, for the most part, pacy which pushes things along but the plot's structure is not always best served by the heavy reliance on direct speech. Such explicatory passages as there are tend, in contrast, to be jarringly flat-footed. The introductory list of Dramatis Personae on pp 9-11 is an essential reference.

P. D. James this is not, even if some of Dudley Edwards's figures would appear to inhabit a world not dissimilar from James's . Do not expect lovingly elaborated mises en scėne or much in the way of character development: just look forward to a romp, many laughs and the satisfaction that the little boy in the crowd has spoken loudly and with great wit.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Parsons (Cardiff, UK) on 2 Jan 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is probably the weakest of the Troutbeck books but is still above almost anything else available. There is little suspense about the plot, with the villain identified as soon as the first crime occurs. The constraints of the setting and plot limit the characters to some extent, with the selection of (sometimes underdeveloped) deserving victims not being seen together in the outside world, and Jack is restricted by the villain's actions. There are some wonderful moments such as Jack's reaction to being asked to eat a McDonald's burger, and it is well worth reading, but we miss the sheer outrageousness of the unfettered Jack. Anyone who reads this as their first Jack book must be aware that the others are even better.
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Format: Paperback
If you ever thought that the modern art establishment - Tracy Emin, Damien Hirst, Charles Saatchi, the Tate Modern et al were having a laugh at the expense of the rest of us, read on.

This is one of the funniest books I have read in ages - laugh out loud funny, but spot-on, as well. A wonderfully erudite, clinical examination and deconstruction of conceptual art with a few imaginative murders thrown in. Entertaining, amusing and informative, but I do suspect that it will be loathed and condemned by anyone who either has a vested interest in this field, or anyone who has been conned by such people!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you have your doubts about modern art you will enjoy this novel; you will also enjoy it if you take to Baroness Troutbeck, a delightful grotesque. Otherwise there is little to commend
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By Berengaria on 15 May 2013
Format: Hardcover
I have to agree this has not been her best book in the Robert Amiss series, but why 5 years??
I had actually began to think that was that with this series, as such I will not be over critical, I did enjoy the story and look forward to meeting up with Jack Troutbeck soon
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