Painting Death by Tim Parks - review by Thomas Marks

Thomas Marks

Murder, He Curated

Painting Death


Harvill Secker 346pp £16.99

‘For the Veronese, who put up with this Englishman for thirty years,’ reads the dedication to Tim Parks’s latest novel. It’s a line that might just as well refer to his protagonist, Morris Duckworth, as to the author himself: following Cara Massimina and Mimi’s Ghost, both published in the 1990s, Painting Death is Parks’s third novel to feature this blustering, bludgeoning Englishman, who has been bumping off the alta borghesia of fair Verona for several decades now.

In fact, that’s not quite true, for when this novel opens Morris has put his homicidal habits on ice, more concerned about cutting a bella figura than carving into yet another victim. He is now firmly ensconced in the Trevisan family (previous novels saw him have his way, then do

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