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A disappointing read
on 9 April 2002
This is the most disappointing books I have read in ages. Maybe I expected too much after' An Instance of the Fingerpost'. This gem of a book ranks sky high on my list of all time favourites (with the Quincunx). Everything is right in this erudite novel: an intriguing, well developed plot, an interesting, well researched background, real characters.
Nothing of this all in 'The last Judgement'. Although the story in itself is passable (but not above a routine, run-of-the-mill whodunnit level), the plot is constructed in a very superficial and haphazard way. Nothing is believable in this book. The characters are of a comic book quality, two dimensional and without personality. In the plot development, coincidence is more the rule than the exception. Police officials move about internationally on their own initiative as if no procedures existed. There is no attempt at creating some atmosphere, although the world of international art trade could have offered an interesting opportunity to do so. The tone wavers in a half hearted way between the facetious, the droll and the 'society critical'.
Hard to believe this was written by the same author who signed 'The Fingerpost'. He must have written it in a great hurry. What a pity. I hope Iain Pears will one day produce work again on the level of his only masterpiece...