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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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A national bestseller and one of thenbsp;New York Public Library's Books to Remember, An Instance of the Fingerpost is a thrilling historical mystery from Iain Pears. "It is 1663, and England is wracked with intrigue and civil strife. When an Oxford don is murdered, it seems at first that the incident can have nothing to do with great matters of church and state....Yet, little is as it seems in this gripping novel, which dramatizes the ways in which witnesses can see the same events yet remember them falsely. Each of four narrators#151;a Venetian medical student, a young man intent on proving his late father innocent of treason, a cryptographer, and an archivist#151;fingers a different culprit...an erudite and entertaining tour de force." #151; People Iain Pears's The Dream of Scipio and The Portrait are also available from Riverhead Books.
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: 1573227951
1573220825
Branch Call Number: FICTION PEARS
LCCN: 97023899
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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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