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on 19 February 2007
Rather than the adventure/action nature of all the other Tintin stories, this one is a hilarious and extremely well-crafted comedy of manners in which all the protagonists are thrown together and have to 'endure' each other's company over a period of time.

Within a static setting (Marlinspike Hall and its environs) all of the main characters that we have come to know-and-love-so-well appear, and it is the various interactions between them that provide the bones of the story and the humour. The main story revolves around the three distinctive characters of Bianca Castafiore (the 'Milanese Nightingale'), Professor Cuthbert Calculus (of international Man-on-the-Moon fame) and Captain Haddock (formerly crusty sea-dog, now crusty country squire and owner of Marlinspike Hall), and their relationships with each other. Going on around this central theme are various sub-plots, the main one being the imagined theft of the Castafiore Emerald followed by the actual theft, and all the chaos and confusion that arises. And around this, there are further goings-on such as the presence of a gypsy community nearby and the relations between Castafiore and the press. There are also numerous hilarious contributions from subsidiary characters and situations, such as crossed phone-lines, a talking parrot, a LAZY builder, Jolyon Wagg the insurance salesman (the way Castafiore deals with him is hysterical), the Thomson Twins and even the local fire brigade.

Tintin himself is peripheral to the humourous substance of the story, but does most of the running around and sleuthing (ably assisted, of course, by the Thomson Twins - not!) and is ultimately responsible for tying all the threads together and bringing about a satisfactory conclusion.

In addition to this brilliantly well-crafted and very very funny tale, Herge's drawings are absolutely first class, with each picture being not only perfectly executed, but also a skilful composition - the effect of this is a slim, 60 page comic that is as rich and satisfying as a 350 page novel (and is accessible to children - my cousin Tim and I and our sisters all loved Tintin dearly, even as young children).

If you don't already have any Tintin books, then I urge you to rectify that immediately - you'll be giving yourself (and any kids you may have) a real treat!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 29 April 2010
After the personal drama that lead to the creation of Tintin in Tibet, one of Tintin's least typical but finest adventures, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Hergé had hit some kind of creative block by the time it came to writing its follow-up. If that's the case then The Castafiore Emerald is the comics' equivalent of Fellini's 8½, the artist gathering together a huge cast of familiar characters, and without having recourse to the formula of the conventional narrative format, knowingly and self-reflexively have them run through the standard old routines and mannerisms. Nothing significant seems to happen, but it's still a hugely entertaining experiment that does open-up and shed some light on the creative process.

The familiar process of running jokes are the narrative thread that links everything together in The Castafiore Emerald when the Milanese opera diva famous for her rendition of the Jewel Song from Faust ("Ah, my beauty past compare, these jewels bright I wear...") arrives at short notice at Captain Haddock's Marlinspike manor, maidservant, accompanist and jewels in tow, to say nothing of journalists looking for a scoop on a potential romance between the diva and the captain. Poor Haddock has to endure great humiliation, not only on account of being laid-up in a wheelchair after an accident with a broken step on the main staircase (it's the services of stonemason Mr Bolt who is called on continually in this book rather than Mr Cutts the butcher, although of course he gets in on the act), but having his name constantly amusingly mispronounced by Bianca Castafiore (Captain Bartok, Captain Hammock, Captain Hassock).

That much, with the usual reliable contributions and misunderstandings from Jolyon Wagg, Professor Calculus and Thompson and Thomson, is familiar with any regular Tintin adventure, but it almost becomes the whole story here. Rather fascinatingly, despite Tintin being alert to dangers from a nearby gipsy encampment, unknown prowlers and suspicious behaviour within the household characters, the suspected theft of Castafiore's jewels ("Mercy, my jewels!") constantly turn out to be false alarms. Even Tintin seems bewildered that he's not jetting off across the globe on the trail of a major conspiracy (one suspects that he already has his suitcase packed for this eventuality).

One can see that Hergé is exploring the mechanics of his craft, delighting once again with the range and possibilities afforded by these characters he has created and is examining them to see how they would function in relation to everyday events. Unsurprisingly, even without yetis, gangsters, secret police, smugglers and international drug-dealer cartels to contend with, they all prove to be every bit as entertaining in "real life".
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on 7 October 2008
This was my least favourite Tintin stories as a child. As an 8 year old I'd have probably called it boring. As an adult it's one of my favourites.

I can see why this Tintin story has come in for criticism from some quarters. It's an 'adventure' with no adventure & frankly nothing much happens. There is the old chestnut of the missing jewels, but other than that nothing much does happen... But & it's a very big BUT, adventure is not the point of this tale.

'The Castafiore Emerald' is actaully an hilarious character study of our heroes at home, rather than in dire peril. This is Tintin as sitcom & it works very well. I must admit that this story would be a poor first exposure to Tintin, but if you read the previous books (best of all in order) you'll probably come love it.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 28 January 2015
Classic Tintin adventure with lovely traditional drawing and bright colours.

If you are a fan this is a must have.

Gentle and rather old fashioned it takes you back to a different time and place.
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on 30 April 2006
This story makes up in humour and charm what it lacks in action and danger. It starts with Tintin and captain Haddock at Marlinspike hall, then captain Haddock invites gypsies to camp on his land, due to the poor condition of there current dwellings, then sprains his leg falling down the grand marble staircase at Marlinspike hall and therefore is unable to escape when he and Tintin are visited by the dynamic Bianca Castafiore a famous Italien opera singer a friend of Tintin who in Tintin and haddocks opinion is better in small doses... anyway once she comes to stay, she brings as a gift to the unwilling Captain Haddock an irritating parrot who causes general exasperation and provokes violent intents (captain Haddock),

Things come to a head in the story when when the opera singers most prize jewel; her emerald goes missing thus blame is immediately insued on to the nearby gypsies.. the plot however is livened up with small touches like, bianca castafiore's disability to get Captain Haddocks name right, the newspapers inventing an engagement between Haddock and castafiore, as well as the usual jokes like proffessor Calculus deafness, Thompson and Thomson's attempt to solve the jewel mystery...this is a wonderful story-one of herges funniest!
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on 4 December 2001
Whether you are a Tin Tin fan or coming first time into the Marlinspike world, this is the best introduction to all the foibles of Herge's characters. Comic, mysterious, a smidgeon of science and high culture, great references and the ongoing adoration of Calculus from Bianca Castafiore is magic. The best Tintin book of all.
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on 26 December 2016
This was a gift and was received very well by my eleven year old grandson, who just loves the Tintin adventure stories.
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on 4 February 2016
This present has been enjoyed. quality product. quick delivery.
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on 12 January 2016
Brilliantly observed and funny.
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on 19 March 2008
the characters shine through in this story, proof of Herge's skill as an author as well as an artist. I can re-read this and still discover subtle, wonderful gems.
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