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Posted January 4, 2012
Posted November 29, 2011
Academe has never had a chronicler as funny as Raphael, whose Nick Hoffman books are always a delight. First there's the narrator's witty, confiding, very human voice. Then there's the vast array of Dickensian characters. Add the hothouse atmosphere of any university and Raphael's clever plots that keep you guessing. I love everything about the series and this particular book, not least the relationship that's at its core. I'd stack this up against Moo and Small World any day.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 13, 2000
If only it was just about sentence structure. Raphael is a beautiful writer--and his prose is marvellous too--but unfortunately this is not one of his best efforts (unless we are grading the way they used to in high school with one grade for content and one grade for spelling/grammar). The weakness here is in the story-telling. Academic mysteries tend to be cerebral affairs; not too many butt-kicking profs out there. Still there are possibilities for danger and intrigue. Raphael turns his back on them in favor of lengthy and sometimes tedious exposition. He depends heavily on the conversational skills of his colorful characters, and unfortunately most of them are not as clever as Raphael himself. Besides how much witty dialog can we take before we need something to HAPPEN? The relationship between Stephan and Nick is a big plus, but Nick spends way too much time conversing with side characters who offer little in the way of possible suspects or potential threat (How scared can we get over the tenure issue, after all). Much of the dialog does NOT serve to move the plot along. Strangely (for an experienced writer) Raphael seems to fall into the trap of telling his tale instead of letting us experience it (no doubt partly the danger of having an introspective protag). The menace that lurks beneath the surface is never felt, and so when it is finally revealed in the intriguing denouement my own reaction was disappointment (I wanted to read THAT book: the one he didn't write). Still, all in all, good stuff for the educated palate.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.