The Club Dumas
Arturo Perez-Reverte, Sonia Soto
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A provocative literary thriller that playfully pays tribute to classic tales of mystery and adventure
Lucas Corso is a book detective, a middle-aged mercenary hired to hunt down rare editions for wealthy and unscrupulous clients. When a well-known bibliophile is found dead, leaving behind part of the original manuscript of Alexandre Dumas's The Three Musketeers, Corso is brought in to authenticate the fragment. He is soon drawn into a swirling plot involving devil worship, occult practices, and swashbuckling derring-do among a cast of characters bearing a suspicious resemblance to those of Dumas's masterpiece. Aided by a mysterious beauty named for a Conan Doyle heroine, Corso travels from Madrid to Toledo to Paris on the killer's trail in this twisty intellectual romp through the book world.
swimmer. Where are you when I need you, he thought bitterly. Then La Ponte arrived, shaking himself like a wet dog, seeking revenge for his wounded pride and above all, for the hotel bill burning a hole in his wallet The battle was beginning to resemble a lynching. "I presume you're not going to rape her," said the girl. She was sitting on the window ledge, still wearing her hood, watching the scene. Liana Taillefer had stopped struggling and was now motionless. Corso was on top of her, and La
at the plastic folder that Corso had taken out of his bag, and the situation changed. As for him, he tried to hold Liana Taillefer's gaze through his crooked glasses, avoiding the roaring reefs—to the south her legs and to the north her bust (exuberant was the word, he decided, having pondered the matter for some time), which was molded to devastating effect by her black angora sweater. "It would be a great help," he added at last, "if you could tell me whether you knew about this document." He
combed straight back. The only noticeable differences between them were that Pablo, the younger of the two, was taller and quieter and that Pedro was frequently racked by the hoarse rattling cough of a heavy smoker, his hands shaking as he lit one cigarette after another. "It's been a long time, Mr. Corso. How nice to see you." They led him up stairs that were worn with use, to a door that creaked as it opened, and switched on the light to reveal their motley workshop. An ancient printing press
is unlikely. Or, to be more precise, not very convincing. The cost of such a book would be enormous.... On the other hand, and this is reasonable, the forgery might have been made shortly after the first edition of the book. I mean that it was reprinted with alterations, disguised to resemble the first edition, some ten or twenty years after this date of 1666 that appears in the frontispiece. But to what end?" "It was a banned book," Pablo Ceniza pointed out. "It's possible," agreed Corso.
remember how they'd reached that point. Corso nodded vaguely, but Fargas didn't notice. At one end of the vast room was an enormous fireplace with logs piled up in it. There were a pair of unmatched armchairs, a table and sideboard, an oil lamp, two big candlesticks, a violin in its case, and little else. But on the floor, lined up neatly on old, faded, threadbare rugs, as far away as possible from the windows and the leaden light coming through them, lay a great many books; five hundred or