A panoramic novel with a riveting mystery at its he ...more
As in An Instance of the Fingerpost, Pears uses multiple narrators to tell the story of financier John Stone's death after a fall out a window. The multiple narrators, in turn, narrate stories taking place in different eras, each illuminating the mystery at the heart of it all: who killed John Stone, and why? The s ...more
To find the answer to that question, the intriguing but rather slow moving story is told by three different narrators in three separate parts, London 1909, Paris 1890 and Venice 1869, and travels back in time to tell the story backwards, a narrative method I found particularly rewarding.
The three narrators, ...more
The starting point is the death of a wealthy industrialist and financi ...more
I hesitate to use the word Dickensian because I was never a Dickens fan, but that's the word that comes to mind for me and I do mean it in a positive way. A long, twisty narrative full of larger-than-life characters who are intertwined in all sorts of unexpected ways -- I can only compare it to Dickens. But where Dickens wrote like he was paid by the word, this book -- though arguably too long -- never felt tedious. Or usually didn't, anyway. I wasn't alway ...more
First there is a prologue, set in Paris in 1953. Two men meet after a funeral. It is short and simple but it sets the tone beautifully and provides a firm basis that will hold together what is to come.
And then the story travels back in time: to London in 1909, to Paris in 1890 and finally to Venice in 1967.
In 1 ...more
I love the way the author decided to tell this story. He starts in the present after a mysterious death has occurred, and then part two goes back in time after a change in narrator. Part three ...more
The story is centered around the life of John Stone who falls to his death from his library window. In his will, he indicates he has an unacknowledged child that his fortune should go to, but no one has ever heard about this ch ...more
The book begins with the narrator attending the funeral of a woman he once knew and may have been in love with, then flashes back to the death of her older, wealthy husband 50 years before from a fall from a window in 1909 in London. The wife hires the narrator to track down an unknown child named in her husban ...more
John Stone is mysterious as any man of power. Married to a bewitching younger woman with a mysterious past, in charge of one of the first great conglomerates and afflicted with vertigo, he dies by plunging from a window and leaves behind a will leaving vast wealth to a never acknowledged child. His wife hires an impressionable young journalist to find out. His account is followed by two others, stretching back half of Stone ...more
Who knew the world of high finance could be that thrilling? We all know it is a world of intrigue, treachery, egomania and tragic flaws, but in the hands of Iain Pears, it takes on epic proportions and becomes a terrain where all human foibles run free.
As always, a very brilliant construction full of surprises and several voices, each one more convincing than the previous one.
Iain Pears has to be one of my favourite crime authors. The magnificent An Instance of the Fingerpost is an incredible historical thriller, with three different solutions to the mystery being presented by different narrators, while the Jonathan Argyll series is an entertaining and amusing romp through the Italian art world. The two are very different sides to Pears' talent, and his newest novel, Stone's Fall is cut from the same cloth as An I ...more
Just one street. Multiply it by thousands and you have London, sprawling over the landscape,...more
"Think of a subject so dull that no one would possibly think to make a thriller out of it. Now double the length of said thriller. Then add the author Iain Pears—and you've got a weird magic trick on your hands," noted the Times in amazement. Although he introduces complex ideas about global finance and industry, Pears humanizes them through his wholly compelling charactersóengaging, shady, and unreliableóand detailed settings, from anarchist meetings to Parisian salons. Riveting, smart, and tho...more
What kicks off Stone's Fall is the death in 1909 of arms trader and industrialist John Stone, a figure unknown to the public but a pillar of international finance. He died through falling from a high window in his Lond ...more
Paris, 1890. Henry Cort, a sort of superspy, with a bit part in the first narrative, tells his own story ...more
This isn't quite the same jaw-dropping brilliance of An Instance of the Fingerpost (my review) but it has the same elaborate masonry and bones of that complex book. Pears is a seriously und ...more