Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d'Art - Christopher Moore Sacre Bleu is a bit different than the usual Moore novel. While it can be hilarious and probably beats the record for the gratuitous use of the word "penis", it does not rise to the continuous hurts-to-laugh level as his Pine Cove books. I also think it is safe to say the novel is not the equal of Lamb or A Dirty Job but it is not minor Moore neither. Sacre Bleu is perhaps a more serious effort on his part. He clearly did a lot of research on the Impressionist artists of France in the late 19th century and one can learn a great deal about this historical period in art from reading this book. I love Moore's use of illustrations of the various art works that are referenced in the book. There is also some excellent characterizations throughout, especially with the fictional baker/artist Lucien and his not so fictional friend Toulouse Lautrec. Pretty much every important artist and their models turn up in the book somewhere. The novel starts with the death of Vincent Van Gogh and then follows Lucien and Henri (Toulouse Lautrec)) as they question the conventional verdict of death by suicide. What follows is the nice blend of factual information with fantasy. I happen to know a lot about the Impressionists so I could easily follow and enjoy the author's playful manipulation of fact and fantasy. But I also suspect this may have turned off other readers who like their Moore books overflowing with slapstick humor. While reading this book, I wondered if the author is upping his game by going for a more epic type of tale...or perhaps he just made up a good idea and went with the flow. Either way, I found this is be quite entertaining and place it in the upper middle of Moore's already impressive repertoire. Three-an-a-half stars teetering into four star territory.

Update: (as of 1-10-13) I wrote this review in April of 2012 and, since then, I've been recommending this novel quite a lot to my friends. That and the fact that I can't get these characters out of my head causes me to move the ratings to four stars.