Book reviews

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at
Fri May 9 19:34:11 EDT 2003

On Fri, 9 May 2003 22:52:56 +0100, minnow at wrote:

>>Eight Skilled Gentlemen, Barry Hughart
>>A magical China that never was. Master Li and Number Ten Ox investigate a
>>murder and find that magical bird-cages and demons are involved. Not as
>>funny as Bridge of Birds, but very good.
>Is this new?  I have a feeling of deja vu about that title.  But the only
>Hughart I have is Bridge of Birds, which understandably doesn't list other
>books of his because it came out before them.  As it were.

No, we are all annoyed that he only wrote three books.  _The Story of the
Stone_ was published 1988 and _Eight Skilled Gentlemen_ was 1991.  There
isn't anything chronological to keep you from reading them in whichever
order you prefer.  I think _Bridge of Birds_ is probably his best work,
though I love all of them.  What I'd heard is that Hughart was disillusioned
by the poor reception his books received, and decided not to write any more,
but that may be fable.

What I *do* know is that when a copy of _Eight Skilled Gentlemen_ appeared
on ABE a few years back, there was a mad scramble as dozens of people tried
to buy it all at once.  I got lucky there.

Melissa Proffitt

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