Was I the only one who couldn't stand the character and plot implausibilities in THE SONNET LOVER? I'll get started on a list and if you've read the book, you can either attempt to argue me out of my disbelief (I might be persuaded...) or add further implausibilities to the list.
Here we go!
1) Rose has about 30 seconds between seeing Mark walk onto the balcony and eventually getting on there herself. In those 30 seconds the killer has forcibly taken a piece of paper from Robin, pushed him off the balcony, AND received a silent agreement from all present that they will protect him.
How likely is it that ordinary people would shield a guy who's just pushed a boy off a balcony? Imagine you'd just seen your boss do that - wouldn't YOU be straight round to the police immediately, regardless of the fact he's your boss? Even if you think it's an accident, you'd make sure the police knew everything lest you later get implicated as an accessory, wouldn't you?
2) The three people keeping stumm have no good reason to protect the killer! Leo is allegedly afraid that a murder scandal would put paid to the movie - well, as a film professional he should be aware that money couldn't buy the sort of worldwide publicity that would come as the result of a boy being murdered for what he knew! The film would be a sell-out if he went to the police - imagine the TV fees he could command as a witness to the crime! So why does he keep stumm?
Gene and Mara allegedly keep stumm because Mark's his boss - does it never occur to this bright spark that with Mark in jail for murder, Gene might actually RISE in the academic hierarchy of Hudson College? What reason do they have to keep stumm?
3) As well as the three people keeping stumm, we also have Robin's two lovers, Zoe and Orlando. Zoe was there but we never find out what she saw, if indeed she saw anything. Why didn't she see anything?
Orlando was there, saw Mark push his lover off the balcony... And does sweet diddly-squat about it. He doesn't go to the police, he doesn't take revenge on Mark later when they're all at the villa, he doesn't even say the magic words "I'm innocent" to Rose when she near-as accuses him of murder. Call yourself a hot-blooded Italian, sir? I call you a weenie!
4) Ginevra de Laura commemorates her rape and consequent internal haemorrhage in a scarlet rose-petal design in the marble flooring of her rapist's house. (She has been installed in the rapist's house by judicial order, as her recompense for having been raped; the house, however, is still the rapist's.) We are asked to believe that
1) she has enough spare money to afford the pietra dure necessary to make the design
2) her rapist would not destroy the floor when he saw it - it might be pretty but does, after all, commemorate his crime for future generations
3) the 14-yr-old victim of a sexual violation would, through art, turn the trail of her blood into a come-hither invite to her next lover ("Here I am, darling! Just follow the red rose petals up into the bedroom!") Nice to know that a rape victim can take such a sanguine attitude to her forcible deflowering, eh?
Because of these elements, I cannot enjoy this book - and that's a shame, because usually I like Goodman's work.
Agree? Disagree? Thoughts?