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The Flanders Panel by Arturo Perez-Reverte

The Flanders Panel (original 1990; edition 2004)

by Arturo Perez-Reverte

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2,712572,175 (3.67)130
Title:The Flanders Panel
Authors:Arturo Perez-Reverte
Info:Harvest Books (2004), Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Flanders Panel by Arturo Pérez-Reverte (Author) (1990)

  1. 10
    The Eight by Katherine Neville (isabelx)
    isabelx: Historical mysteries involving chess.
  2. 10
    Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco (Patangel)
  3. 00
    le nom de la rose (Patangel)
  4. 00
    Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter (P_S_Patrick)
    P_S_Patrick: Arturo Perez-Reverte has recieved inspiration for his excellent mystery thriller from Hofstadter's Godel Escher Bach, even without some of the chapter introduciton quotes, that much is clear. He uses the bewildering Escherian theme of worlds within a world, Godels incompleteness theorum is alluded to in the monologue of one character, and Bach is discussed in relevance to the mystery too, along with a few miscellaneous paradoxes which are also slipped in, in a similar spirit in which they permeate the more complex non-fictional work. Non-fiction readers who have enjoyed GEB should be amused by the Flanders panel, and I think they should enjoy it even if they do not often indulge themselves in reading fiction. It would be harder to recommend GEB to fans of the Flanders Panel, due to its sheer length, but if you were intrigued by the themes in the story then it should at least be worth finding GEB in a library and dipping into it.… (more)

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English (44)  Spanish (6)  French (3)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (56)
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
Julia, an art restorer,discovered a hidden inscription beneath layers of paint and lacquer while working on a 15th Century painting--The Game of Chess. Part of her job is to uncover the back history of the painting, including information about the individuals in the painting.

This book, like the painting itself, functions on multiple levels while introducing knowledge, subterfuge, murder and fear into the story. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was both surprised and satisfied by the conclusion. I will seek out more books by this author. ( )
  cfk | May 24, 2014 |
Julia, a young but highly respected art restorer, has been hired by her friend Menchu to restore a 15th century Flemish panel, The Game of Chess, which will be sold at auction in a few weeks. Using X-ray photography, Julia has discovered a hidden Latin inscription on the painting: who killed the knight? What does it mean? Does it refer to the knight in the painting, or to a knight in the chess game depicted in the painting? Julia needs to know more about the painting's history and the three people in the scene. She enlists the help of her friend and father figure César, her ex-lover Álvaro, and an enigmatic chess master, Muñoz. Julia's quest to solve a 500-year-old murder sets off a fresh chain of murders. Will Julia uncover the painting's mysteries in time to save her own life?

The author tried to do too much in a fairly short book. I was fascinated by the art history, the painting's Renaissance setting, and the intricacies and layers of the chess game depicted in the painting. The added twist of Freudian psychoanalysis was too much. The suspense built through the clues in the chess game, the modern murders, and Julia's near escapes is wasted by the lengthy explanation required to tie all of the plot elements together. The idea is better than its execution. I also had a hard time accepting Julia as one of the best art restorers in the field. Wouldn't an expert know better than to chain smoke in front of a valuable painting she's supposed to be restoring? ( )
  cbl_tn | May 10, 2014 |
Read as a trashy mystery novel, there's really nothing objectionable about this, although for some reason, I was really expecting more. Especially galling was the villain, complete with a needlessly complicated, and mostly pointless, plan that seems to exist only so that the novel might exist. When the villain finally gives an explanatory monologue at the end, the rationale is, quite frankly, kind of offensive (and it feels unintentionally so).

The chess and historical subplots ended up seeming rather superficial. The chess, especially, seemed far too elementary to hang much of a plot on, while simultaneously being treated with far too much reverence and symbolic import by the characters. ( )
  jawalter | Nov 18, 2012 |
She busied herself preparing a vodka-on-the-rocks and suddenly smiled in the dark as she stood in front of the Van Huys. She had the odd feeling that if anything bad was going to happen, it would happen to someone else. Nothing bad ever happened to the hero, she remembered as she drank her vodka and felt the ice clink against her teeth. Only other people died, secondary characters, like Alvaro.

While restoring a 15th-century painting called The Game of Chess, restoration expert Julia discovers a hidden inscription which seems to have been painted over by the original artist. She enlists the help of antiquarian César and chess-player Muñoz in tracking down the solution to a 500-year-old murder mystery., but their quest leads them into danger, as they soon realise that someone else is interested in the painting and in playing the game to its conclusion. All the squares, my dear, are grey, tinged by the awareness of Evil that we all acquire with experience, an awareness of how sterile and often abjectly unjust what we call Good can turn out to be.

They discover unexpected connections between the characters in the painting, their reflections in the painted mirror, the game they are playing, the history of the real people who were depicted in the painting, and the lives of the modern-day people investigating the riddle posed by the painting, and the book is full of references to mirrors and art and how both can give the viewer a different perspective on a scene.

Unfortunately I did not find any of the main characters sympathetic at all and was not really concerned whether any of them would survive to the end of the story. Julia was cold and vain, always admiring herself in a Venetian mirror that she had been told made her look like a Renaissance beauty, and although I think the reader is meant to like César more than Menchu, they are quite similar characters, one a homosexual male and and other a heterosexual female but both are arch, artistic, middle-aged and serial seducers of beautiful young men. I am also not keen on the way that descriptions of the characters are constantly repeated throughout the book, with Muñoz's frayed collar being mentioned rather more than was necessary to make it clear that he didn't really fit into Julia's world. But as the story is seen from Julia's point of view, the constant harping on about frayed collars and too short skirts may be there to show how judgmental and dismissive Julia is about her friends and acquaintances.

Although I am not a chess-player myself (having really bad spatial perception which prevents me from holding a picture of the board in my mind and moving the pieces mentally), and I didn't warm to the main characters, the mystery kept me interested throughout. ( )
  isabelx | Aug 10, 2012 |
Don't even bother with this book. It goes nowhere fast. A long line of gross and pathetic characters fill the pages with boring details that lead to basically nothing. Intriguing idea, poorly executed. ( )
  tippygirl | Aug 5, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pérez-Reverte, ArturoAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Costa, Margaret JullTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kallio, KatjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Quijano, Jean-PierreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Julio and Rosa, Devils's advocates
And for Cristiane Sánchez Azevedo
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A sealed envelope is an enigma containing further enigmas.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0156029588, Paperback)

Julia, a young Madrid art restorer, is pulled into a shadowy world of metaphor when she discovers a long-covered inscription on a Flemish painting: Who killed the knight? Art, chess and murder are intertwined in this elegant, seductive mystery in the manner of The Name of the Rose.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:58 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

When Julia is cleaning a 15th century Flemish painting, in a corner she finds the words: "Who killed the knight?" As she investigates the mystery, she becomes mixed up with several late 20th century unscrupulous characters.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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