The hero of Spanish author Perez-Reverte's freewheeling, ambitious literary mystery is Lucas Corso, an itinerant rare-book hunter who'd gladly sell his grandmother for a first edition. When a wealthy cookbook publisher and bibliophile is found hanged in his study, leaving behind an original handwritten chapter from Alexandre Dumas's The Three Musketeers, antiquarian book dealer Flavio LaPorte asks his friend Corso to authenticate the manuscript. What begins as a straightforward assignment soon complicates into a bewildering tangle of literary gamesmanship as the book detective finds himself swept into a real-life adventure-serial and crime novel rolled into one. As the action shifts from Madrid to Portugal to Paris, the intrepid, bad-tempered, gin-swilling Corso encounters a host of intriguing characters, including devil worshippers, obsessed book collectors and a hypnotically appealing femme fatale. Suspense-filled and ingenious, Perez-Reverte's latest (after The Flanders Panel) is also something of a primer on the rare-book business and a witty meditation on the relationship between book lovers and the texts they adore. Rights: Howard Morhaim. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/02/1997 Release date: 02/01/1997 Genre: Fiction
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