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An Instance of the Fingerpost

Pears, Iain (Book - 1998 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
An Instance of the Fingerpost
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We are in England in the 1660s. Charles II has been restored to the throne following years of civil war and Cromwell's short-lived republic. Oxford is the intellectual seat of the country, a place of great scientific, religious, and political ferment. A fellow of New College is found dead in suspicious circumstances. A young woman is accused of his murder. We hear the story of the death from four witnesses: an Italian physician intent on claiming credit for the invention of blood transfusion; the son of an alleged Royalist traitor; a master cryptographer who has worked for both Cromwell and the king; and a renowned Oxford antiquarian. Each tells his own version of what happened. Only one reveals the extraordinary truth.With rights sold for record-breaking sums around the world, An Instance of the Fingerpost is destined to become a major international publishing event. Deserving of comparison to the works of John Fowles and Umberto Eco, Iain Pears's novel is an ingenious tour de force: an utterly compelling historical mystery with a plot that twists and turns and keeps the reader guessing until the very last page.
Authors: Pears, Iain
Title: An instance of the fingerpost
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, c1998
Characteristics: 691 p. ;,24 cm
Statement of Responsibility: Iain Pears
ISBN: 1573220825
1573227951
Branch Call Number: FICTION PEARS
LCCN: 97023899
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Opinion

From Library Staff

If you’re drawn to historical mystery aspect of Catton’s Luminaries, you’ll enjoy Pears’ prizewinning story of a murder in Oxford during the Restoration, which features no less than five narrators - all highly colorful, and all but one highly unreliable. Based on a real incident and featuring a n... Read More »

A murder takes place in 1660s Oxford during a period of scientific and political upheaval. Pears gives us four different versions of the truth.


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Aug 05, 2010
  • Russ_A rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I usually enjoy books where the same story is told from the viewpoint of several characters. The Embezzler by Louis Auchincloss and English Passengers by Matthew Kneale are two of my all-time favorite books. So I hoped this one, having that same characteristic, would join those, but I was mildly disappointed. It's not bad, but it really did not come off as credible to me. The author tried to write in a style suggesting 17th Century scholars might have written it, but there was too much dialogue and modernism, thus spoiling the effect. He also overdid the religious bigotry, sexism, chauvinism, and scientific ignorance and arrogance of the age. The big surprise at the end was something of a let down for me.

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app04 Version tobio (tobio) Last updated 2014/09/24 12:25