Sacre Bleu: A Comedy D'Art
William Morrow, 2012 (2012)
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by Bob Walch
lways willing to try something new and outrageous, Christopher Moore again pushes the envelope in this, his 13th novel. A mystery with comedic elements and a generous dollop of ribald romance, the novel's title (sacred blue) is a reference to the color of the cloak of the Virgin Mary. Made from crushed lapis lazuli, the famous pigment was reputedly infused with supernatural powers, or so the story goes!
eave it to Moore to take this tale of pigment infused with special powers to paint a fanciful portrait of some of the key figures of Impressionist art. As usual, Moore takes a little
and begins his story with the murder of Vincent Van Gogh in Auvers.
nce Van Gogh is gone, two of his friends back in Paris, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec and the novel's protagonist, Lucien Lessard, begin a haphazard investigation into their friend's death.
hat follows is a tour de force journey through Paris' art community as the amateur sleuths follow the trail of the elusive and sinister Colorman, the supplier of the bewitching shade of blue known as
. An impish, grotesque little fellow with a very interesting and lengthy past, The Colorman's accomplice is a fetching beauty who forms a romantic attachment to not only Lessard but some of the other characters in this artistic romp.
ince Paris provides the key setting for
, a number of other artists – Renoir, Monet, Pissarro, Manet, Cezanne, Seurat and Gaugin – pop in and out of the storyline. The reader will also find color examples of the masterpieces produced by these artists sprinkled throughout the text and, in one way or another, Moore weaves the art into his narrative and uses it to move the story forward.
nce you have finished this '
dark little fairytale of the color blue
' be sure to read the afterword. Not only does Moore obligingly attempt to separate some of the fact and fiction he so indiscriminately mixes together on his literary palette before he created this bizarre picture but he also proves he did actually
do his homework
before setting brush to canvas (I wanted to say
pen to paper
but that would be a mixed metaphor!)
f you are one of Christopher Moore's readers you know he delights in surprising (some would say shocking) his fans. Whether it's vampires, celestial beings, Christ's boyhood, organ donors or whales, when this author delves into a subject something wonderful, funny and
way off center
follows. That is certainly the case with
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