Monday, June 20, 2011

「ヤツはとんでもないものを盗んでいきました・・・ あなたの心です!」

"Do you have any proof of what you're saying?"
"None whatsoever," replied Lupin. "But proof is sometimees less convincing than logic." 
"La Cagliostro se Venge"

Oh, look, an Arsene Lupin review of something not written in Japanese! Oh, and this planned posting thing is awesome.

While not as big an adventure like 813 or Les Dents du tigreLa Comtesse de Cagliostro ("Countess Cagliostro") was one of the more engaging Arsene Lupin stories, chronicling his earliest big heist as a thief and his battles against and affairs with the mysterious Countess Cagliostro. As I couldn't find an English translation at the time, I read the whole thing in German and it's the only German book I own. I love Lupin that much. Anyway,  while Lupin had seemingly won in La Comtesse,  readers knew that a horrible plan had been set in motion by Cagliostro for her revenge. It was just a matter of time.
Well, time and availability. I had wanted to read La Cagliostro se Venge ("Countess Cagliostro's Revenge") for some years now, but it wasn't until last year that an English translation (bundled with an English translation of La Comtesse) was published. Even worse that release had kinda slipped under my radar too!  But now, a year late, I finally got to continue in the Lupin saga. In La Cagliostro se Venge, set many years and books after La Comtesse, master-criminal Arsene Lupin is finally confronted with Cagliostro's revenge. It starts out with a normal day for Lupin, who is doing reseach on a potential target, but little does he know that soon he, a young architect who lives in his mansion and the neighbours are soon to get involved with a murder. The murder is the starting sign of a long adventure of lovers, of people trying to blackmail Lupin (don't try it!), about old friends and enemies and the culmination of Cagliostro's revenge.

Like always, an Arsene Lupin novel is more a swashbuckling adventure by our master-criminal (compared to the more 'classic' short stories), but they seldom bore. I am kinda disappointed in the novel though; if I was an evil Countess woman with a criminal organisation to my disposal, I would have planned my revenge... more detailed? More sure? More... I don't know, hate-inspired revenge rather than a I'll-see-what-happens-revenge. The story is short too, so no awesome epic like 813. Which is still the best novel-length Arsene Lupin novel. This novel is somewhere in the OK-ish ~ not-really-worth-it range.

I only recommend reading this Lupin novel because it forms a set with the La Comtesse de Cagliostro, which does belong to required-reading list of Arsene Lupin. Some Lupin novels are best read in groups anyways, like Les Dents du tigre is best read together with 813, or how to a lesser degree Arsene Lupin vs. Herlock Sholmes and L'Aiguille creuse form a set within the Arsene Lupin timeline. But the plot-twist at the end of La Comtesse is really strongly connected with La Cagliostro se Venge, which automatically turns it into an important book within the Lupin world. Few qualities of its own, but recommended reading for the fans.

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