Counts who stank of garlic–as did the whole country–had sponged on him for seats in his box at the opera. He was meeting diplomats who had “titles as long as a flagstaff, and heads as empty as their hearts.” These were strictly private comments, Daniel told Peticolas, and none of it should get into the papers. All of it did, in Richmond and soon in Turin. Now it was not garlic but what people called “the garlic letter” that caused a stink.
There is another criticism that Auchincloss has had to counter in his long and illustrious career as writer (he also worked as a lawyer). In his books, there is a constant struggle to capture a bygone world — in a nod perhaps to Edith Wharton and Henry James, those other chroniclers of the hypocrisy of the rich and famous.
There are red herrings aplenty, but once finished reading the novel I’m left with a sense of annoyance at these diversions, so often delightful necessities in other mysteries, but close to being filler in this one.
The North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, informally known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, is a span of ocean between California and Hawaii the size of Texas, where floats a Sargasso Sea of trash consisting of 90 percent plastic.
This long, well documented book by Rick Atkinson is one of the best accounts of any war to appear in the last decade or more.
Yet it is the amateur, the eccentric and the outsider who plays the hero in the whodunnit. Lord Peter, with his silly-ass-about-town front, Holmes, with his Goethe and cocaine bottle and Poirot with his obsessive neatness and ostentatiously Gallic egotism, all seem pretty unlikely champions of order and public safety.
There is also something conversational about the way he writes, a straightforwardness, and a beguiling, gentle rhythm. And of course, there is that dry wit. Bennett has a genius for the sardonic one-liner, his timing is immaculate.
These driven individuals scour celebrity garbage cans, pose as anyone but themselves, lie as though the truth was a concept to be scorned and in general have all of the journalistic ethics commonly associated with FOX News. Getting the goods on the rich and famous is all that matters in this weird league.
Nor, it seems, do Americans get out of their diplomatic fortress the way they used to. Italians say they do not have the American friends and acquaintances that they used to. What do embassy officers do with their time? Like many professionals in this country, they spend hours in front of computer screens, busy with e-mail. That may be work, but it has little to do with representing the United States.
Though the notorious Roth voice is often manic and crude, we assume that coming from a writer who is intellectual and self-critical to the hilt, there must be some highfalutin purpose behind the roughhouse tactics, for him to know and us to divine.
‘The Flynn Effect’ was the phrase Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray coined in their book The Bell Curve, to describe the enormous gains in IQ scores in the 20th century from one generation to the next, which James R Flynn, Professor Emeritus at the University of Otago, did so much to measure and document.