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The Very Last Gambado (1990)

av Jonathan Gash

Serier: Lovejoy (book 13)

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1613125,890 (3.23)6
The Very Last Gambado (Lovejoy Mystery) by Jonathan Gash (1991)

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In the world of antiques, or at least this fictional world of antiques in 1990s England, "the very last gambado" is another name for "robbing the British Museum." It hasn't been done, it can't be done. Or can it? Lovejoy has been asked to devise a credible means of doing so for a heist film...

While the plot of this book was interesting, I gave up on it a third of the way through because the narrative voice really irritated me. Lovejoy narrates in the first person, and almost every line of dialogue is followed by a paragraph explaining what the speaker just said, translating antique-dealer slang or providing background about the speaker. The book therefore felt very circular, like it was chasing its own tail. The female characters were also presented in a very unflattering manner. Lydia, Lovejoy's apprentice, is a moralizing, humourless nag, and Lorane, one of the film crew, is bitchiness personified. Every time they appeared on the page I wished they would go away, but Lovejoy was not much better company, since he constantly filled the page with asides instead of telling the story already.

I have two other Lovejoy novels on the shelf and hope they are less irritating. Otherwise, I'll stick to the TV series. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Sep 17, 2013 |
The best of the series. ( )
  johnclaydon | Jan 31, 2013 |
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1991779.html

The Very Last Gambado is about a criminal raid on the British Museum, disguised as a movie about a raid on the British Museum (which is this book's lovingly described exotic venue). It was written some way into Lovejoy's TV appearances, and one wonders if the dissolute and past-it male lead was - no, never mind, that's unfair. But there are a lot of interesting observations about the madness of a film set, particularly involving stunt men, and the thought experiment of trying to raid the British Museum is an intriguing one; anyone who knows that corner of London at all well will end up scratching their heads at the complexity of the problem.

Meanwhile we do also get a fair bit of Lovejoy on his home ground in East Anglia, fighting off amorous women with varying degrees of failure, and encountering a forger's workshop located on a second-hand bus, which is an arresting image. And I'm glad to report that our hero has acquired two new budgies after the awful fate of the ones in Gold from Gemini.

This book also has a moment which makes the classification of the series as non-genre rather than fantasy very difficult. Lovejoy is a "divvy"; he has an astonishing ability to tell real antiques from fakes. One can usually handwave this away as well-honed observational skills and intuition - I can look at a tray of objects and guess how many there are to within 15-20%; I used to be able to date a medieval manuscript to the correct half-century at a glance; Lovejoy's skill as an extension of that sort of thing seems OK. But here, Lovejoy actually detects a genuine antique within a sealed container, unable to see it, but it makes his heart beat faster just to be near it. It's not all that important to the plot (well, it might be, but I had some difficulty following) so I will still classify The Very Last Gambado as non-genre in my end-of-month and end-of-year tallies. But I have a lingering doubt. ( )
  nwhyte | Sep 14, 2012 |
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Lovejoy (book 13)
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For Sarah Kate, with love. . . . TO: The Chinese God Wei D'To, protector of manuscripts, this manuscript is respectfully dedicated.
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Antiques and women, being passion, are the only living things you can depend on.
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