Huh. Well, I didn't see that reveal coming! [a:Arturo Pérez-Reverte|40398|Arturo Pérez-Reverte|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1223406250p2/40398.jpg] certainly did a great job of keeping me guessing as to who done it!
The Flanders Panel was an interesting yet odd book for me. I found the passages about chess to be incredibly interesting, which is shocking because my elementary school aged niece can beat me at chess. I'm terrible at it, and completely lack the ability to think ahead and make the devious plans that seem to be required in chess. In this book, though, Perez-Reverte almost made chess seem poetic, artistic, even dramatic. He was able to make me see chess in lots of different lights, and maybe that shift in perspective will help me lose fewer pieces to my niece before she puts me in checkmate the next time we sit down to play.
It's odd to me that the thing that should have appealed to me least (chess) is the thing that I liked best about this book. I didn't care much for the characters in this book (the two main male characters were interesting, but none of the other characters impressed me), and the story also got lost in itself sometimes. It was much longer and more convoluted and complex than it probably needed to be, and at times the thread of the story seemed to have gotten a little lost. It was as though a time out had to be taken from the plot so that the story could show off how sophisticated and erudite it was. The length of the book, the loftiness of some of the passages, and the utter lack of appealing characters only combined to weigh down the mystery in The Flanders Panel. This was a story with an intriguing premise, but it's too bad that the story had to be so pretentious.