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Lorimer Black goes to keep a perfectly routine business appointment and finds a hanged man. His life is turned upside down and inside out. To compound matters, he falls in love with a married actress and his job degenerates remorselessly.
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Lorimer Black may suffer from a serious sleep disorder and an obsession with the labyrinths of the British class system, but Armadillo's peculiar protagonist is the star insurance adjuster of London's Fortress Sure PLC, unkindly known as the Fort. At the very start of William Boyd's noir-ish seventh novel, however, things take a decided swerve for the worse. On a bleak January morning one of his cases has apparently chosen to kill himself rather than talk: "Mr. Dupree was simultaneously the first dead person he had encountered in his life, his first suicide and his first hanged man and Lorimer found this congruence of firsts deceptively troubling."
Soon our hero, who himself has a lot to hide, finds himself threatened by a dodgy type whose loss he has adjusted way down and embroiled with the beautiful married actress Flavia Malinverno. "People who've lost something, they call on you to adjust it, make the loss less hard to bear? As if their lives are broken in some way and they call on you to fix it," Flavia dippily wonders. Lorimer also has his car torched and instantly goes from an object of affection to one of deep suspicion at the Fort. Then there is another case, the small matter of the rock star who may or may not be faking the Devil he claims is sitting on his left shoulder.
Needless to say, Lorimer is "becoming fed up with this role of fall guy for other people's woes." Boyd adds a deep layer of psychological heft and a lighter level of humour to this thinking-person's thriller by exploring Lorimer's manifold personal and social fears. This is a man who desperately collects ancient helmets even though he knows they offer only "the illusion of protection."
Another of Armadillo's many pleasures: its dose of delicious argot. Should Lorimer "oil" the apparent perpetrator of the Fedora Palace arson before he's oiled himself? Or perhaps he just needs to "put the frighteners" on him. Boyd definitely puts the frighteners on his readers more than once in this cinematically seedy and dazzling literary display. --Kerry Fried, Amazon.comReview:
A novel that is truly comic, and, like all true comedy, also disturbing (Scotsman)
Marvellously paced and ingeniously plotted. A real page-turner (Observer)
Armadillo doesn't miss a trick. It has depth and resonance which will make you want to read it again . . . zinging readability (Mail on Sunday)
A joy to read: east to get into, addictively plotted and beautifully written (Daily Mail)
As entertaining and as thought-provoking as anything Boyd has ever written (Daily Telegraph)
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Book Description Hamish Hamilton, London, 1998. br.cop.fig. a col. Condition: NUOVO. Lorimer Black goes to keep a perfectly routine business appointment and finds a hanged man. His life is turned upside down and inside out. To compound matters, he falls in love with a married actress and his job degenerates remorselessly. cm.15x23,5, pp.310, London, Hamish Hamilton 1998, cm.15x23,5, pp.310, br.cop.fig. a col. Testo in Inglese - Text in English. Seller Inventory # 264346
Book Description Hamish Hamilton Publishing, 1998. Soft cover. Condition: New. No Jacket. 1st Edition. Published In 1998 : 1st. Edition : 1st. Printing : Full Printing Numbers Listed , 1 - 10 : Hamish Hamilton Publishing : Just A Couple Of Light Dot Bumps To The Bottom Of The Back Cover : Otherwise , As New Throughout : Overall , A Very Nice Book : Seller Inventory # 22 - 11199
Book Description Hamish Hamilton Ltd, 1998. Paperback. Condition: New. New, sealed. This book is in stock now, in our UK premises. Photos of most of our books are available - please ask, as dustjacket and cover illustrations vary, and unless the accompanying image is marked 'Bookseller Image', it is an Abebooks Stock Image, NOT our own. Overseas buyers also note that shipping rates apply to packets of 750g and under, and should the packed weight of an item exceed this we reserve the right to ship via 'Economy', or request extra postage prior to fulfilling the order, or cancel. Seller Inventory # mon0000112462
Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # M-0241139309