Monday, April 8, 2024

The Club Dumas (1993) by Arturo Pérez-Reverte

📚 I must thank Simon @ Stuck in a Book who inspired me to challenge myself in A Century of Books, without which I wouldn't have found, let alone read, this book, first published in 1993. It's a book-about-books, so I thought there's a fat chance I would like it. And, it's about Alexandre Dumas too, one author I always admire for his brilliant story writing. Plus, it's available on Everand (previously Scribd), where I mostly read e-books or listening audiobooks from.

📚 The Club Dumas is a literary mystery-thriller in the antiquarian bookish world, set in Spain. Our literary detective is Lucas Corso, a middle-aged book mercenary whose job is to hunt down rare editions for wealthy bibliophiles. When a book collector was found dead hanging from the ceiling, a part of handwritten manuscript of The Three Musketeers was on the floor nearby. Corso, who's hired to investigate its authenticity, seemed to be plunged into Dumas' fictional books, where he meets vilain characters such as Milady and Rochefort.

📚 Paralel to that, another client hired him to find rare editions of an occultist book, The Nine Doors (fictional), which is believed to contain instructions to summon Satan! There are three editions left in the world, which led Corso to dangerous adventures in Toledo, Prague, and Venice, while a beautiful young girl who insists to be called Irene Adler (from Sherlock Holmes' universe) follows him everywhere as his guardian. Is she an ardent lover or a mysterious enemy?

📚 Any bookish person, especially those who adore classics, would be thrilled to read this book. There are many mentions of great works, besides those of Dumas, such as Moby Dick (Lucas and his friend called themselves The Brotherhood of Nantucket Harpooners), Sherlock Holmes (Irene Adler's address in her passport is 221B Baker Street), and many more. If you are fan of Dumas, this is a book you'll definitely enjoy.

📚 But if you love books, art, and puzzling mystery, this book will make you happy, regardless of the Dumas effect. The occultist book, The Nine Doors, contained nine paintings, which Corso found slightly different in each original edition he investigated. It's like "find five differences in this picture" kind of game. And the paintings are quite lovely.

📚 The story itself is engaging and fast-paced. You'll feel that there are two parallel mystery, the Dumas and The Nine Doors, and it leaves you wondering whether the two are separate cases or one complex case? Because aspects of the one often appear in the other. The truth is quite unpredictable, and, in a way, rather underwhelming. This book is also nostalgic; bringing me back to the 1990s, when floppy disks are used to save data. It reminds me of our family's first computer. The thriller isn't perhaps really my cup of tea, but I cherished the 1990s atmosphere it brings!

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

1 comment:

  1. This was the first Perez-Reverte book I ever read, and I loved it so much I went on to read many of his other novels. But then thrillers are my cup of tea. :D


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