Advertising
anchor link to jump to start of content

The Seattle Times Company NWclassifieds NWsource seattletimes.com
seattletimes.com Home delivery Contact us Search archives
Your account  Today's news index  Weather  Traffic  Movies  Restaurants  Today's events
  NWCLASSIFIEDS
  NWSOURCE
  SHOPPING
  SERVICES





Sunday, February 29, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.

Book Review
'A Very Private Gentleman': Enough intrigue to fill two lives

By Barbara Lloyd McMichael
Special to The Seattle Times

E-mail E-mail this article
Print Print this article
Print Search archive
0

In his new novel, "A Very Private Gentleman," acclaimed author Martin Booth returns to the loner-protagonist type he has so successfully characterized in past books.

The story is narrated by a man who has come to an Italian mountain village for a stay of some length. The locals call him Signor Farfalla, Mr. Butterfly, due to his apparent work as an artist who travels the world over to paint the lovely insects.

The narrator doesn't attempt to disabuse the villagers of their assumption, but readers of the book soon learn that his painting is a cover for his real work as an expert gunsmith with an underground clientele. Farfalla's handcrafted firearms have been used in some of the most notorious assassinations of the past few decades.

His new nickname suits him in an unintended way, for in his business the narrator has had to become a master of metamorphosis.

"A Very Private Gentleman"

by Martin Booth
St. Martin's Press, $23.95
The gunsmith is in Italy to work on his last commission before retirement. Letting down his guard a bit, he becomes acquainted with the locals and finds himself yearning for the beauty and permanence of the town.

But when Farfalla discovers he is being stalked, his dreams of an anonymous retirement are put into jeopardy, as well as his ability to complete this last assignment.

With this book, Booth sets an interesting triple task for himself. It is a psychological suspense thriller, yet it is invested with the life-and-death gravitas more typically found in a conventional novel. It also contains such a finely honed appreciation for the Italian culture that it could be construed as a travelogue.

The whodunit aspect was obvious before half the book is over, but the author still has some surprises up his sleeve, and the languid pace picks up considerably toward the end.


advertising

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

More books headlines

 ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
 SEARCH

Today Archive

Advanced search

 
advertising

seattletimes.com home
Home delivery | Contact us | Search archive | Site map | Low-graphic
NWclassifieds | NWsource | Advertising info | The Seattle Times Company

Copyright

Back to topBack to top