The Flanders Panel Paperback – 5 Jun 1997
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"A sleek and sophisticated chamber mystery about art, life and chess. Madly clever" (New York Times)
"Gives murder a touch of class...delightfully absorbing" (Observer)
"In its intellectual background detail it is reminiscent of Umberto Eco's novels...hard to stop reading" (Michael Eaude Times Literary Supplement)
A brilliant murder mystery in which a clue to a murder is hidden within a medieval painting.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
However, as historical research begins to shed new light on the lives of the characters in the painting - especially the third, Beatrice of Burgundy, the Duke's consort - the untimely death of one of the investigators adds a sinister atmosphere to the intellectual enquiries, and lends new importance to the chess game being played within the painting. Julia and her lifelong companion César, a dandified homosexual antique dealer, react by recruiting the detached and reticent Muñoz, the unfathomable genius of the local Capablanca Chess Club, to aid them in uncovering the hidden chess puzzles in the painting.Read more ›
The beginning of the novel I really enjoyed with the fascinating mystery surrounding a 15th Century painting, "The Game of Chess" by Pieter Van Huys. The descriptions of the painting, invented by the author, is obviously inspired by the work of Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painters and shows a fair amount of research into that era of history. There is an early occurrence of an unbelievable point though: would an expert in art restoration constantly chain-smoke around centuries old paintings and highly-flammable liquids?
The idea of solving a centuries-old murder hinted at in a painting is a tantalising one but it seemed to me to reach its resolution far too quickly. If the novel had just been about solving the mystery behind the painting I would have liked it much more, but it then focuses on the story of a modern-day murderer obsessed with the painting and playing out the central motif of the chess game. This is where my interest waned.
The writing style fairly bristles with erudition and yet it is done with little finesse. Themes of art history, theories of chess, music and mathematics, psychology, philosophy and various other subjects appear. All very interesting stuff but it is forced into the plot as though being ticked off a list.
What finally set my low opinion of this novel was the incessant reminders that one main character is gay. I realise this is a "mileage may vary" comment, but, as the homosexuality of the character is the key element for the conclusion I found it a ludicrous ending and an extremely unpleasant stereotype as well.
Definitely not worth the laurels it was given, in my view.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not everyone's cup of tea - or wine! However the description of life within the small suburb of a Spanish town is very well told and provokes vivid imagery of the scenario as the... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Opus simplex
I've always had a fondness for great art, and art history. Throw chess and murder into the mix, and you have an intriguing blend of mystery and suspense. Read morePublished 13 months ago by R.M.F.Brown (Author)
Most unusual - but you do need a basic knowledge of chess to read itPublished 22 months ago by Katy
excellent service, notwithstanding initial delivery problem/.will use again/.book first class/see others on amazon
the spanish robert goddard,with history and class.
Brilliant book, real good holiday read. And class service and price. Will be shopping with Greener again and again.
This book is based around an old painting of a chess game. The painting is a puzzle and the cause of a present day murder. Solve the puzzle in the painting and solve the murder. Read morePublished on 20 Jan. 2013 by Julian Barnes