Best Review of A Comedy Of Murders: An Italian Renaissance Mystery (mystery Adventure Series Of Leonardo Da Vinci And Niccolo De Pavia Book 1):
Most helpful customer reviews 1 of 1 people found the following review helpful. Herman's book is much ado about murder! By Billy J. Hobbs Who's next? Michelangelo? Peter Paul Rubens? Regardless, George Herman's "A Comedy of Murders" introduces us to a new "man of mystery"--Leonardo da Vinci! And what more fun could there be in a good mystery than to have this great man as the "problem solver"! He joins other such "sleuths" from history such as Ben Franklin, Charles Dickens, Clark Gable, Oscar Wilde, the Marx Brothers, etc. on the library shelves. In this first of a series, Herman features none other than the Maestro himself, caught in the middle of war, politics, and, you guessed it, murder. Herman, who gave us commedia del'arte in literature with his first book "A Carnival of Saints," continues this genre but introduces us to two new characters, Da Vinci and his midget (he's NOT a dwarf!) Nicolo da Pavia. The two lay foundation for the later books to come--and they are a formidable pair, to say the least. It is 1498 and the forces of evil, mayhem, and, yes, murder are at work. As the Italian papal states are in their usual disarray; the French are moving in to take Milan, and, one might easily believe, "the end is near." Plots, sub-plots, and even sub-sub-plots keep this book moving at a fast-paced clip. Lots of characters (easy to get lost in them, too!) provide the tonal integrity and dynamic symmetry, colorful and eventful as it is. Alas, so much so that Leonardo's personality (even character) is not fully realized. Perhaps in later books he fulfills this obligation. Still, Book I doesn't suffer for it.Il Moro (Duke of Milan) is the victim of numerous assassination attempts, the latest unsuccessful thanks to the quick thinking of Nicolo, who just happens to be up on the scaffolding hiding with a stolen bottle of wine. Nicolo (the midget) inadvertently saves the Duke's life while seeing the two would-be assassins "done in." The Duke is impressed with Nicolo's quick actions, but the midget reads four languages, including "the vulgar one" (local Italian), is gifted with philosophical thoughts, has quick wits, and is most appealing to the ladies of the court. The Duke already has in his employ Messer Da Vinci. While Da Vinci is busy trying to develop his own code (of various things), he is the quintessential multi-tasker and soon Nicolo and Da Vinci realize they make a good pair of detectives.The Duke has wind that a team of assassins headed by the mythical (and mythological) Griffin and other attempts on his life are attributed to this unknown and quite mysterious person (or persons). Bodies begin to pile up every, making Act V of "Hamlet" seem a tea party. There's more to this scheme than the Duke realizes, but, of course Leonardo and Niccolo begin to figure this out early on.In the middle of all this, Herman reunites us with his traveling group of actors, who featured most highly in "Carnival of Saints" and they are a great segue into this one, providing the glue that holds the narrative together, with the vast array of comical actors who lend their presence to the action.Herman's book is difficult to put down (and it's best read fairly quickly as there are so many characters that it's easy to get them confused, or even forget who they are!) as he combines the various elements of literary narrative--and well done too. The humor that abounds, combined with the seriousness of all these murders (and some are quite brutal), certainly propels the book to an exciting and worthwhile read. Another star in Herman's crown is that he seems to have done his research--and well too--into not only Leonardo but the Duke of Milan (as well as the various papal, cardinal, and political figures). To date there are at least six books of this Leonardo series. Herman frames Leonardo well--perhaps in another series he could make a chiseler out of Michelangelo! 0 of 0 people found the following review helpful. Imagine Richard Lester's Three Musketeers Movie Masterpiece, and enjoy this novel By Italophile Book s A Comedy of Murder is a richly researched and richly imagined visit to that amazing time of city-states run by princes, and explorations of our planet and the sciences, and a church more concerned with rich coffers than rich souls, and wars fueled by personal vendettas, and personal vendettas fueled by wars. We meet the Duke of Milan, the French King, the Pope, minor city-state princes, courtiers and other hangers-on. The reader does not need to be an expert on these times or people; the author informatively guides us through them.Have you ever seen Richard Lester's film The Three Musketeers? While reading A Comedy of Murders, I found myself playing a film of the story in my mind, in the style of Lester's filming of the classic historical adventure tale. Both tales are told as bawdy, silly, historical farce, in which real people from the past are imagined as flawed, corrupt, pompous idiots who are lost in circumstances beyond their control.There are some characters who rise above others in their moral fortitude, and one of those is the artist-architect Leonardo da Vinci. The author weaves Leonardo's life and work into the story, and from about page ninety, Leonardo plays a large role in the story. A Comedy of Murders is actually the first novel in a series of comic novels that feature Leonardo da Vinci and his friend, the fictional Niccolo de Pavia, a diminutive scholar and courtier.There are eight books in the series, all historical comedies for adults set during the height of the Italian Renaissance, full of courts, castles, dungeons, torture, gossip, courtesans, rivalries, out-sized egos, rampant libidos, political scheming, erudite learning, monumental building project, and the creation of timeless art.I would advise a reader to sit back and savor the author's masterful recreation of that raucous, vibrant, violent, cruel and creative era. He is especially knowledgeable about Renaissance warfare, and Leonard da Vinci's work. Do not expect a "mystery novel". Be open to the comic historical novel, and let history wash over you. The author makes us a visitor to a Renaissance city-state's court, and puts us in the middle of all the nonsense.Read my full review at Italophile Book shttp://italophilebookreviews.blogspot.nl/2014/03/a-comedy-of-murders-by-george-herman.html 0 of 0 people found the following review helpful. Il comedia del...Muerte? By B. Smith I hated "The Da Vinci Code" so when I read the jacket of Mr. Herman's book I was not tempted to purchase until the girl i was with proded me and said, "Oh, I've read that one. It's killer. You'll love it."I baught it (just to show the girl I vauled her input) and I loved it. I read it in two days! See all 5 customer reviews...
From Publishers Weekly The first in a projected series of historical novels by Herman ( Carnival of Saints ) takes place in late-15th century Italy. Someone is plotting the death of Il Moro, the Duke of Milan. One attempt is inadvertently foiled by the dwarf Niccolo. As a reward he is placed in the service of Madonna Valentina, one of Il Moro's favorites at court. As the monastery-educated Niccolo explores the hidden passages within the Duke's castle, gathering information as an agent for the Countess Bergamini, he discovers the path to "the madman's tower" where Leonardo da Vinci dissects corpses to increase his understanding of human anatomy. Repeated attempts on the life of Il Moro misfire and lead to a bloody vendetta. The body count rises as various victims are poisoned, drowned in the castle cesspool or abandoned in a locked torture chamber. At least 12 bodies pass under Leonardo's scrutiny. As they do, he and Niccolo gather evidence to uncover the mysterious assassin known as the Griffin. Who is the Griffin and who has employed him? Is it the Borgias, the King of France or Il Moro's own brother? Herman weaves a complicated yet rich tapestry of political intrigue and adeptly places Leonardo and Niccolo in the center to sort it all out. Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. From the Back Cover George Herman has been a playwright, director and actor. His forst novel, Cardinal of Saints, was published by Ballantine in 1993. A Comedy of Murders is the first in a series of historical mysteries. About the Author George herman is a prolific writer who has written over 120 plays and counting; novels, children's books, poetry, essays and music including musical plays. His novels range from historical to farce to fantasy and all written with humor.George has a background in theatre: acting on stage and screen (including 19 episodes of the original Hawaii 5-0); directing for stage and screen; founder of 'Commedia Theatre Company' in Hawaii; teacher in high school and college and mentor to writers.To read his full bio go to his website georgeherman.com.
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