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St. Agatha's Breast Paperback – Nov 2001


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Product details

  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Alyson Publications; 1st Alyson edition (Nov 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555837085
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555837082
  • Product Dimensions: 21.7 x 13.8 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,476,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Feb 1999
Format: Hardcover
This novel is so far above the typical art-heist books being cranked out these days. The superb, comic writing reminds one of the best work of Ngaio Marsh. The characters in their manifold perversities, problems, and schemes are deeply satisfying. Van Adler's critical insights to the art history profession are right on target. So who is this Van Adler anyway? It's hard to believe this is really a debut novel. It seems more likely that it comes from an experienced literary comic novelist who has, for the fun of it, turned his or hand to the genre of mystery.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Feb 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is wonderful. The plot revolves around stolen artwork from a monastary in Rome. No one is pious, chaste or virtuous. Everyone has secrets, and the cast of characters are bawdy, funny and licentious. I was surprised with the accessability of these men - one of the best parts of the book is the e-mails!!!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 11 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
a cross between umberto eco and carl hiaasen 11 Feb 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is wonderful. The plot revolves around stolen artwork from a monastary in Rome. No one is pious, chaste or virtuous. Everyone has secrets, and the cast of characters are bawdy, funny and licentious. I was surprised with the accessability of these men - one of the best parts of the book is the e-mails!!!
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The marks of an educated man (or woman). 30 July 2003
By Jonblk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The blurb was enticing, and I like that old Simon Raven, Iain Pears kind of stuff anyway, and there was also a gay theme. Looked good.
The author, hiding behind a pseudonym, was an art historian, aparently, and possibly a high-up in the Catholic Church; a person of education, promising an educated read.
I have to say that I gave up some time after page 100 when I encountered about the fortieth mistake: fons et origens, a Latin phrase which ought to be fons et origo, meaning source, origin, fount of all knowledge, or whatever. The book is full of little phrases and expressions in Latin, Italian and Spanish. Unfortunately there are far too many errors in these to inspire the reader's confidence, which in my case was severely jolted on page 9 or thereabouts, where the expression 'free reign' was used. Mr or Miss Van Adler ought to know that the expression is 'free rein', and is derived from riding horses, and has nothing to do with being a queen.
The plot is highly unlikely, and not really very entertainingly expounded. I immediately wondered how Pius could understand what Manolo and Antonio were saying to each other, given that they speak to each other in Basque, a language which, curiously enough, does not appear erroneously scattered anmong the paragraphs of the book as with the Latin, etc. (see above).
There are also some British people, who speak in extremely odd, unBritish ways, for the author is from the United States, and despite an excellent topographical knowledge of Rome, and for all I know, Maastrich as well, he/she does not quite manage to capture the way in which the English and the Scots talk.
I rarely, having a completion neurosis, leave a book unfinished, but this one has defeated me. The other reviews are quite mystifying and I can only conclude that the reviewers were taken in by the blurb, as I initially was.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A Real Gem of a Mystery--Who is Van Adler? 20 Feb 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This novel is so far above the typical art-heist books being cranked out these days. The superb, comic writing reminds one of the best work of Ngaio Marsh. The characters in their manifold perversities, problems, and schemes are deeply satisfying. Van Adler's critical insights to the art history profession are right on target. So who is this Van Adler anyway? It's hard to believe this is really a debut novel. It seems more likely that it comes from an experienced literary comic novelist who has, for the fun of it, turned his or hand to the genre of mystery.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
You Have To Laugh 26 Jun 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
After reading other reviews of St Agatha's Breast, I realize I've been taking this book too literally. On the surface, it's about a morally bankrupt monastery full of thieves, perverts, murderers, and grotesques -- on the whole, a very unsavory lot. However, if you look at it as absurdist, then I suppose it makes for an entertaining read. I confess (no pun intended) that the frequent references to pedophilia corroborates my suspicion that the practice and acceptance of same was not a deep, dark secret, that many, many people and clergy have known from time immemorial that children have been abused by priests. T.C. Adler is a pseudonym who, according to the book jacket, is "very experienced in both the worlds of art and the Church." Why the anonymity? Sorry, but had I not picked up a more wholesome novel while reading this one, I would have finished it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Delightful 8 Feb 2004
By Willow - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book, and the sequel, are delightful little gems. Yes, as with others, I would love to know the real "T.C. Van Adler", an interesting person I should think. I cannot speak for the Latin, but the English usage is complex and new words abound. The plot is superficial, the novel not deep, but the writing style is enchanting.
One chapter - and all are short - is a wonderful description of the decaying building. Closing my eyes, I could picture this edifice along one of the small Roman streets.
This is a book to keep and re-read for sheer pleasure from time to time. It is fun. It would have five stars had the plot been a bit more convincing, but then again, perhaps the plot is close to truth, and I simply do now how close it may be!
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