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Aiding and Abetting by Muriel Spark (2000)

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» See also 65 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Funny, funny, funny!!! ( )
  Bradley08 | Feb 7, 2016 |
Funny, funny, funny!!! ( )
  Bradley08 | Feb 7, 2016 |
24 months - A quirky book about an unlikely friendship. The story is more like snippets of their interactions which are entertaining but make for an odd read. The art work is unique and very fun. I'm not sure O gets the stories but she enjoys the wacky imagery. Although cowboy's language is appropriate for a cowboy I'm hoping O doesn't pick up some of the phrases and repeats them. ( )
  maddiemoof | Oct 20, 2015 |
Delightfully witty and deliciously wicked, this was a fast, fun summer read. ( )
  MizPurplest | Sep 21, 2015 |
This short novel imaginatively riffing on a real murder mystery involving Lord Lucan's apparent murder of his children's nanny. The historical Lord Lucan disappeared or perhaps died, not one knows. Sparks creates an elaborate farce swirling with concealed, created, and mistaken identities. The plot centers around Lord Lucan in hiding, a double who pretends to be Lord Lucan (and it is often unclear which is which), and there interactions with a sham, but very successful female psychologist practicing to Paris upper echelon. The wit is as barbed as Waugh but more obviously farcical, and perhaps, less mean-spirited, in spite of the grisly fate dished out to some of the characters. A sardonically delightful book. ( )
  sjnorquist | Apr 17, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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The receptionist looked tinier than ever as she showed the tall, tall Englishman into the studio of Dr. Hildegard Wolf, the psychiatrist who had come from Bavaria, then Prague, Dresden, Avila, Marseilles, then London, and now settled in Paris.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385720904, Paperback)

First, a bit of history: The seventh Earl of Lucan disappeared on November 7, 1974, leaving behind the battered body of his children's nanny and a beaten wife. Widely covered in the press, his sensational story has had a surprisingly long half-life, and the speculation about his whereabouts has never quite died out. In this book, Muriel Spark toys with several provocative issues arising out of the case: identity, class, blood ("it is not purifying, it is sticky"), and the dynamics of psychiatry ("most of the money wasted on psychoanalysis goes on time spent unraveling the lies of the patient").

Aiding and Abetting opens sometime late in the 20th century, when an Englishman in his 60s walks into the Paris practice of famed Bavarian psychiatrist Dr Hildegard Wolf and announces that he is the missing Lord Lucan. Yet Hildegrad is already treating one self-confessed Lord Lucan. And what's more, both patients seem to have dirt on her--for isn't she really Beate Pappenheim, a notorious fraud who used her menstrual blood to fake her stigmata? Fearing for her safety, Hildegard flees to London, where her path inevitably crosses that of two British Lucan hunters.

Aiding and Abetting contains more than its share of broad farce and bitter irony. But it remains a strange, slight affair, its unspoken tenet being that the Lucan case still preys on the communal mind of the British public, its details (like the perpetrator's penchant for smoked salmon and lamb chops) indelibly printed there. For anyone under 30, that's a difficult argument to swallow. As one wise character puts it: "Few people today would take Lucan and his pretensions seriously, as they rather tended to do in the 70s." Times have changed indeed--and perhaps that's Spark's point after all, that the "psychological paralysis" of the not-quite-swinging '70s is long gone. --Alan Stewart

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:39 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

It is 25 years since Lord Lucan's disappearance in the wake of the vicious murder of his children's nanny. The celebrated psychiatrist Dr Hildegard Wolf is approached in her Paris consulting rooms by not one, but two men, each claiming to be Lucan.

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