Wednesday, September 01, 2010


I recently read The Girl with the Crystal Eyes by Barbara Baraldi, and it was great fun. It had me laughing quite a lot, although I am not sure that was the author's intention.
The glamourous Ms Baraldi is according to the back cover is "Italy's bestselling thriller author", which I suppose is equivalent to saying that The Sun is the biggest selling newspaper in the UK.
From the back cover again:
...the first volume in an unforgettable gothic journey through the streets of Bologna, with bloodshed that will chill you to the bone and an investigation that will take your breath away.

There is a prologue and an amazing total of 67 chapters in the 264 pages, which produces a 'James Patterson like' very jerky read.
On page two of the prologue we read:
Arousal makes him breathe heavily. His eyes, small and dark, run up and down her body, leaving behind the slimy trail of her thoughts.
'You got no knickers on -like I asked you?'
'Of course. I'm a very obedient girl.'

Immediately fans of Miss Austen will realise they have no need to worry; she will not be challenged on grounds of literary excellence by Ms Baraldi.
The plot involves a beautiful serial killer going round murdering men, who think she is an easy target, and the reader has to work out which one of three or four beautiful women is the killer.
The book reminded me of a song from a country and western group, Confederate Railroad, in which the narrator states he likes his women 'just a little on the trashy side.' Definitely not a book suitable for day time television adaption, and much more a late night cable station offering.
I should issue another little warning to the sensitive reader. In this book when two beautiful women go to the loos together, they are not intending to discuss Italian Renaissance Art or knitting patterns.
[There is a brief reference in the book to Carlo Lucarelli's female detective Grazia Negro and those thrillers set in Bologna, but this book is no where near the same standard.]
Many thanks to the kind blogger, who sent me this book.


Blogger Maxine Clarke said...

Very funny and fair review, Norman! I had no idea the author looks like that, so thank you also for the pic! You could have been justifiably a lot more critical of this book, in my opinion, but I think you have achieved the effect of conveying the right impression about it, while not being up-front about some of its, er, limitations.

11:11 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Thanks Maxine. After reading this book I moved on and read Karin Fossum's Bad Intentions, which was totally different in both standard and mood. It has to be a contender for the International Dagger next year.

12:20 PM  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Oh, no. These publishers will put anything on the blurbs.

It's time for another one of your "Hamlet" blurbs done in the "next Stieg Larsson" style.

If she is a top-selling author in Italy, I am concerned for the reading tastes--and thinking--of the population.

Then again I get concerned looking at the best-seller lists in the U.S. (And I don't mean Stieg Larsson, but a few authors who shall be unmentionable who publish a zillion books a year.)

3:52 PM  
Blogger Bernadette said...

LOL (literally)

4:24 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Thanks Kathy, I must get the brain in gear for a Hamlet.

Thanks Bernadette, I am pleased that I could cheer you up during your Australian winter.

2:13 AM  

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