The Strange Case of the Composer and His Judge Paperback – 1 Mar 2010
|New from||Used from|
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
'One of the best novels of its year ... It is a thriller, a romance and a critique of dryness ... Ever since I read it, I have been encouraging everyone else to do so' A.S. Byatt (on Hallucinating Foucault) 'Every bit as good as her debut, Hallucinating Foucault, which is saying a good deal ... Penetrating and sparkling' Philip Hensher (on Monsieur Shoushana's Lemon Trees) 'Patricia Duncker should be made a DBE, elected to the Academie Francaise and have a statue erected in the main square of her home town' Louis de Bernieres (on James Miranda Barry)
The thrilling tale of a secret suicide sect and the musical mastermind at its center.
Shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger, the Best Crime Novel of the Year
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
The novel starts with an atmospheric crime scene - in the snowy forest near a chalet, a group of bodies is found, arranged in a mysterious pattern. The investigating judge, Dominique, is nicknamed 'la chasseuse des sectes' - she's an expert investigator of cults. But the judge's certainty in the rightness of her quest to prosecute the mysterious organisation known only as 'The Faith' is shaken when she meets the Composer. His charisma more than matches her own, and the two opponents are thrown into a curious match of wits where they discover a strong mutual attraction. The battle plays out among the surroundings of the Judge's childhood, where she discovers that all is not as it seems. Added to the mix is the faithful (but not to his wife!) Andre, Dominique's strong-willed and passionate German counterpart, with whom she's been having an affair for several years. But which man will she choose? And will the Judge come down on the side of the law or 'the Faith'?
I liked the occasional bit of French or German language that was thrown in - it gave the book a sense of atmosphere as the characters moved between Switzerland and France. But I did wonder whether readers who aren't able to make sense of it might find it irritating - not sure, but thought it was worth mentioning.Read more ›
It's quite different from Duncker's previous novel, very unsettling and I don't feel I'm doing justice to all the layers in it, but I'd heartily recommend it. I found the judge herself particularly involving and I was willing her on to stay true to herself.
The most mysterious thing about this novel was the consistently unprofessional behaviour of the protagonists. The detective and the prime suspect both declare their crazed love for the Judge and there is little sense to any of the relationships which evolve. The Composer clearly demonstrates his dramatic instability from his first introduction, yet the Judge seems determined to overlook this (presumably for the sake of the story). The mystery of the deaths within the Faith is marginally interesting as it is eventually unravelled but there is a distinct lack of tension and pace.
I've read several works of fiction by the same author, including The Deadly Space Between - another novel with a slightly mystical mystery at its core. The Deadly Space Between, while far from faultless, is told in crisp, evocative prose, and effortlessly maintains a taut, chill atmosphere, with building tension strung between the characters. I had hoped The Strange Case... might build on these strengths so I felt quite disappointed. The main characters' actions and reactions demonstrate little logic (with the exception of the Judge's assistant, who is equally irritating in terms of her determined `quirkiness'), and thus are difficult to relate to. The writing is inconsistent, and even a little confusing/unclear in places.Read more ›
It's central character, the Judge, Dominique Carpentier, a lawyer and expert in dealing with crimes connected with religious cults, is brought in to investigate multiple suicides by members of a sect called The Faith. She is a fascinating character, fiercely independent in her personal as well as professional life, incorruptible, forensically intelligent, not moved by sentiment or romance yet capable of tender feelings, and absolutely dedicated to her work. She attracts love and loyalty to an extraordinary and mysterious degree: all the main characters are in love with her - the investigating officer, the chief suspect, the suspect's fey and innocent teenage daughter, not to mention her eccentric assistant. Her investigations lead her to the formidable Composer, the other fascinating character in the book, who is also a famous conductor; he is linked to everyone who died. His fierce passion for her draws her into the sect's secrets and helps to break down her defences, reserves and steely loneliness. He holds a unique position in the Faith and before his terrible suicide he does his best to pass this on to her.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Certainly there’s strange mystery but the main appeal for me was the intensity of the narrative.
Alas, the opening mystery of dead bodies soon fades into personality conflict... Read more
Alarm bells should ring I suppose when all the "quotes" on the book are for other books by the author. Read morePublished on 9 Mar. 2014 by Eljay
I quite enjoyed this book and although the idea of the book was very compelling (hence why I bought it), I felt that it didn't quite meet my expectations. Read morePublished on 25 Jan. 2014 by BBLDN
Like Patricia Duncher a lot, writes and thinks outside the box, can recommend her, downloaded perfectly sitting on the beach on the island of Fuerteventure.Published on 1 Dec. 2012 by cruzar
This was recommended to me by a gay friend whose opinion I usually respect but not in this instance. Read morePublished on 6 April 2012 by Ms. Margaret M. Mcdermott
There are some books I feel compelled to indulge, even though they have obvious flaws. One of which can be that they are too knowingly clever or have too large an ambition. Read morePublished on 16 Aug. 2011 by Eileen Shaw
A very enjoyable read with the signature twists and turns that you come to expect if you read a lot of her novels. Read morePublished on 11 July 2011 by Monique Aj Smith
This book is ultimately quite disappointing. Much of the plot relies on the premise that The Judge is somehow almost supernaturally attractive to men, something not borne out by... Read morePublished on 17 Feb. 2011 by Amazon Customer