Monday, February 13, 2012
light in the tunnel
Title: London Under
By: Peter Ackroyd
Peter Ackroyd's "votive offering to the gods who lie beneath London" is also an artifice -- or should that be an edifice? -- of eccentric pedagogy. Like the ever-so-slightly unsettling vicars of period British mysteries whose obsessively detailed leaflets are strewn about churchyards where murder lurks, Ackroyd's no man to shun a datum, however mean. In his deft hands, coal becomes diamonds; the weight of detail upon detail yields insight. "London is built upon darkness," he writes. Perhaps so. But this book shines. It's also beautifully designed and produced, a perfect gift for the wild-eyed vicar on your list. NB: For synergy, couple this with Christopher Fowler's Bryant & May mystery series, which partakes of the same subterranean wellspring.
View similarly tagged posts: non-fiction