Bodies by Robert Barnard
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Yet another fast and pleasant read before I tackle something more substantial. I keep returning to Robert Barnard's novels because I love his sarcastic humor and snide remarks about various human foibles. "Bodies" is a 1986 novel in the Perry Trethowan series. Perry investigates a quadruple murder committed in a Soho office of a soft porn magazine, and initially the case seems to be connected to the bodybuilding community.
This is definitely not Mr. Barnard's best work. I have been particularly annoyed with the inconsistency of tone in "Bodies". At the beginning, the multiple murder case is presented with a sort of light touch as if the author were saying "Look, it is only a mystery book murder, not a real one". Yet later in the story things get pretty serious and grim.
Still, I do not regret spending the three hours to read the novel. It offers a fascinating glimpse into rituals of bodybuilding, and Mr. Barnard has a field day ridiculing the bodybuilders' limited intellectual prowess. The report from the Aberdeen Bodybuilding Championship is a hoot. The book is peppered with so many hilarious passages that I have been laughing out loud several times. For example, guess who owns the "Bodies" magazine. None other than Mrs. Wittgenstein.
Two and a half stars.
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