I have a rule: I won't call a book a page-turner unless reading
it causes me to miss my bus stop. Engrossed in David Hewson's latest mystery,
The Garden of Evil
I missed my stop not once but twice and that
was before I was halfway through the novel. This one's a page-turner all
right! It's also a top-notch, high-quality detective procedural that
will appeal to readers who enjoy a literary mystery.
The plot of The Garden of Evil
revolves around a 17th
-century painting by Caravaggio,
so understanding the artist's life and work is important to the overall plot.
Happily, Hewson provides a great deal of historical detail without lecturing.
In fact, the historical background is every bit as entertaining as the moments of suspense, and
is one of the features that make the book such a stand-out.
Beyond the Book
A painting presumed to be by the 17th
Caravaggio is central to the plot of The Garden of Evil.
The work found (which is purely fictional) is purported to be the artist's copy of an actual oil by Annibale Carracci, entitled
Venus with a Satyr and Cupids.
Caravaggio is one of the most fascinating and influential artists of the
early Baroque era.* He was born Michelangelo Merisi, in Milan on 8 September
1573. The family moved to the small town of Caravaggio in Lombardy in 1576, and
it is from this city that he took his name. After the death of his father, a
master builder, in 1584 Caravaggio was apprenticed to Simone Peterzano, a
painter in Milan of the school of Titian. His apprenticeship...