Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sacré Bleu-Christopher Moore

Sacré Bleu

Christopher Moore

Morrow, Apr 3 2012, $26.99

ISBN 9780061779749

Lucien Lessard grew up in the home of a master French baker who taught him to appreciate good food and great art as his Père fed the impoverished and displayed their work. He became best friends with Henri Toulouse-Lautrec and associated with the impressionist and post-impressionist greats like Manet, Renoir, Pissarro, and others; though his efforts as a painter were at best frustratingly inept.

In 1890, troubled Vincent Van Gogh sends an enigmatic note to Toulouse-Lautrec. A few days later Van Gogh is dead. Propelled by the letter and death, Lessard and Toulouse-Lautrec investigate the mysterious Colorman, who has sold for three decades the paint especially a special blue to a virtual who’s who of late nineteenth century French artists. The two sleuths notice weird patterns of love affairs, forgettable periods, and immense production, but struggle to understand what this means as clues seem to go back many millennia.

This is a terrific late nineteenth century “comedy of art” mystery that provides interesting insight into Western art and not just the prime period as creative Christopher Moore also looks at the Renaissance Italy and ancient Rome, etc. The mystery of Colorman is cleverly done so that readers will enjoy the amateur sleuthing especially the author’s trademark slapstick humor; but it is the masters who make Mr. Moore’s wonderful work into a masterful journey that began in a remote cornfield.

Harriet Klausner

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