Da Vinci Cod (Don Brine) - Harper Paperback - 2005 - 180 pages
Va Dinci Cod (A.R.R.R. Roberts) - Gollancz Small Hardback - 2005 - 180 pages

These are the same books released in different countries at the same time.  The parody of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code by Adam Roberts (if that is your real name) is much better than his abysmal Tolkien parodies, The Soddit and The Sellamillion.  However, there is a lot less substance here than in other parodies of Brown such as The Asti Spumante Code.

Roberts mocks Brown with excessive digression.  For example, "There was a pregnant pause.  Not, perhaps I should clarify, a pause that lasted nine months.  That would be more than a pause, quite frankly.  It would be more like a hiatus.  Rather a pause that contained within it the possibility of something that would only later come to light.  A pause that might make you sick in the mornings."  This might be funny once or twice but it recurs on every page.  Without non-sensical digressions, this would be a 75-page book.

The plot, such as it is, involves the mysterious murder of the National Gallery curator by cod suffocation.  London Professor of Annagrammotology, Robert Donglan is called to the scene of the crime to solve some cryptic clues but we soon learn that he could not solve the Weekly Reader crossword puzzle.  Donglan is soon joined by French police specialist, Sophie Nudivue and eccentric priest, Father Hook and eccentric aristocrat, Herbert Teabag.  The four and sometimes just three struggle to decifer Morse Code coughs, fishy Greek clues and paintings by Leonardo's sister, Eda.

I was most impressed by one clever sentence in which the writer managed to get the following consecutive adjectives in one sentence: watery, warty, wary and wry.  Note that one letter is removed from each preceding adjective.  [JAM 7/22/2009]