Englischsprachige Literatur

Adair Gilbert

The Key of the Tower

Vintage, Random House, London 1998


Adair is a very ambitious francophone British writer and journalist. The characters in this small novel converse fluently in French and the bad guy, Rieti, loves to recite his Proust, if not pointing a gun at one of the other characters. Well, if I had wanted to read French, the obvious thing to do would have been to read a novel in French, wouldn´t it? The same applies to Proust. On the cover of the book Time Out is quoted as saying it is a “masterpiece” and on the back it says it´s a “parodic thriller”. All that may well be so, but the reader gets tired rather soon. Adair takes great pleasure, apart from practising his French, in describing in detail how everybody is dressed which makes thrilling reading.
The story is about a young British author, Guy Lantern, who by some weird coincidence finds himself in Normandy in the company of a young French couple, Bea and Sacha, who plan a coup to sell a forged 17th century painting to a rich Arab in Britain. In the end Guy kills Bea and the reader can close the book.