Peppered with historical and musical references, Stace's writing is not for everybody. Baroque in his descriptions and possessed of an arch wit, he is fond of long, involved sentences that allow his characters to betray themselves: "I wrapped my arms around her, clasping her in my embrace as if she were a dying kitten whose life I could only save at the risk of squeezing her to death." And the plot, though elaborate, is never really the point. Nevertheless, for readers who seek to immerse themselves in a period, or simply in a talented author's conceit, Charles Jessold is a gift.

CHARLES JESSOLD, CONSIDERED AS A MURDERER
BY WESLEY STACE | PICADOR [PAPER] | 400 PAGES | $15

WESLEY STACE + JONATHAN COE | Newtonville Books, 296 Walnut St, Newton | March 9 @ 7 pm | 617.244.6619

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