turies-old estate and other locales arernclear and enticing. Just for fun, Wrightrnenlightens us on the subjects of falconry,rntire manufacturing, microbiology, bookrncollecting, and furniture restoration, asrnwell as Samuel Johnson and New Worldrnexplorers. Wright is sure-handed withrnher details and seems to know her stuff.rnSo here we are, with an interesting murder,rna romantic setting, lots of authenticrnlocal color, and a brainy, chivalrous hunkrnof a sleuth. This book should have beenrnfirst-rate, but two problems keep it fromrnbeing so.rnOne disappointment was that, in spiternof a cast of angry characters and a lot ofrnromantic set-ups, there is no flesh-andbloodrnpassion here. I’m not talking aboutrnsex, necessarily; I’m talking about intimacy.rnBoth the murder and the book arerncerebral, detached, and cool. Now,rnMultnomah publishes what it callsrn”Christian living books” in numerousrngenres, and several reviewers on the Internetrnhave referred to Pursuit and Persuasionrnas a “Christian novel.” I’m notrnsure what that means, but if Wright wasrntr ing to write a “Christian novel”—and Irnhaven’t read that she was —it might explainrnthe characters never transcendingrntheir own good manners.rnAnd, okay, let’s talk about sex for arnminute. At least three women are interestedrnin our hero, and he’s interested in atrnleast one of them, bvit no one ever lets on.rnIn 354 pages, there’s not one kiss, onernsleepless night of longing, one inadvertentrntouch, or even an interesting doubleentendre.rnThe Washington Times comparedrnWright to Dorothy L. Sayers, butrnshe isn’t quite there yet. Sayers’ Lord PeterrnWimsey, the politest and most Christianrnof sleuths, is also unabashed in hisrncourtship of Harriet Vane. More thanrnonce, we glimpse a jovous, holy sexualityrnthat the foppish Wimsey keeps on a veryrnshort leash. And with that glimpse, wernanticipate that something grand is inrnstore for us. Wimsey’s controlled but evidentrnsexuality makes him even morernChristian, more manly, and more interesting.rnWhen Wright can do that withrnBen Reese, she’ll be off the porch andrnrunning with the big dogs.rnA bigger problem with this book, however,rnis the lack of authoritati’e editing.rnWright has high intelligence and a literaternimagination, but she needs an editorrnto help her heed Faulkner’s advice tornwriters; “Kill your precious darlings”; excisernwhat doesn’t belong, even if it’s brilliant.rn(i'”s/5ecw//y if it’s brilliant.) A morernliberal use of the red pencil would haverneasily eliminated most of the obstacles tornmy loving this book. To wit: There is wayrntoo much painstakingly researched trivia.rnMany of the conversations are repetitive.rnThere are too many suspects, too manyrncharacters, too many charming locales,rnand too many pages of Georgina’s “poetry.”rnWright persists in using a distractingrnorthography to represent Scottish speech.rnAnd I don’t know what the book’s titlernmeans.rnBut enough grumbling. These flawsrnare irritating because the rest of the bookrndeserves better. I liked it enough to orderrnthe first two novels the other day, and Irnthink Sally Wright’s just going to get better.rnJane Greer writes from North Dakota.rnHorror of Homernby Bill CrokernBruce Chatwin: A Biographyrnby Nicholas ShakespearernNew York: Douhleday; 618 pp., $35.00rnTravel writing in the post-World WarrnII era gradually became the prosaicrnstuff of Sunday newspaper supplements,rnnothing more than Baedeker-type guidesrnto fancy hotels and chic restaurants in foreignrncapitals. Bruce Chatwin revived thernclassic traveling-by-the-seat-of-your-pantsrnschool, a genre historically practiced byrnworldly wandering Brits as disparate asrnLord Bvron, Richard Burton, and GrahamrnGreene. The idea is that a travelrnbook cannot be interesting unless thernjourney’s destination is remote and desolate,rnand the going is hard, even dangerous.rn”Horreur du domicile,” said Baudelaire,rnand Chahvin took it to heart. Afterrna stifling period in his early 20’s workingrnas an up-and-coming “numberingrnporter” at Sotheby’s auction house inrnLondon (where he honed his prose stylernwriting short catalogue entries of art objects),rnChatwin’s doctor warned him thatrnhis job was inaugurating a nervous breakdownrnand deterioration of eyesight andrnadvised him to seek out “far horizons.”rnWe have the dusty-booted, mud-cakedrndetails thanks to Nicholas Shakespeare’srnBruce Chatwin: A Biography. At 618rnpages, this well-written book is the probablernlast word on a writer who —despiternauthoring only a half-dozen books andrndying of AIDS at 48—continues to cast arnlong shadow over all serious travelrnscribes. Today, glossy magazines such asrnOutside and Sports Afield feature articlesrnby Chatwinesque wannabes swathed inrnGore-Tex and chattering on cell phonesrnin equatorial jungles or among Himalayanrnpeaks. This high-tech version ofrnChatwin’s rucksack method has becomernan advertising tableau in the pages ofrnsuch magazines: Thanks to Bruce Chatwin,rnPatagonia may soon own Patagonia.rnChatwin was born in Sheffield, England,rnin 1940, the eldest of two sonsrnof Charles Chatwin —a lawyer andrnwar-time naval officer —and his wife,rnMargharita. True to his class, youngrnBruce was sent to boarding school at OldrnHall in Shropshire, and then to MarlboroughrnCollege. By his own admission, hernwas a poor student (“I was hopeless atrnschool, a real idiot, bottom of everyrnclass”) though an omnivorously well-readrnpolymath vho dabbled in literahire, art,rnand archaeology. A school friend oncerndescribed him as “a 19th-century dilettante”rn—one, that is, in the best sense ofrnthe word.rnChatwin’s modus operandi in travelingrnwas simple: Bring to an exotic locale erudition,rnan insatiable curiosity, and a sharprneye for the bizarre. Court hunger, illness,rnand exposure to the extremes of weather,rnas well as unpleasant adventures with localrnbureaucrats and cops resulting inrnshort stints in jail or the paying of bribes.rnLike great travel writers before him,rnChatwin seems to have been neuroticall)’rndriven to escape himself and “the perversionrnof home.” He was a lifelong bisexualrnwho nevertheless enjoyed a 24-year,rnmostly happy marriage to the AmericanrnElizabeth Chanler (a union that withstoodrnhis sexual peccadilloes), and whosernremote travels encouraged what has beenrncalled “sexual tourism.”rnAimless wandering in Europe, Africa,rnand Central .Asia in the late 60’s and earlyrn70’s resulted in frustrated attempts atrnwriting, producing only some forgettablernmagazine journalism and a turgid anthropologicalrntreatise titled “The NomadicrnAlternative.” Despite Chatwin’srnHerculean efforts, the latter never sawrnpublication, though elements of it appearedrnin The Songlines (1987). Fromrn1972 to 1975, Chatwin was a feature writerrn(specializing in travel) for the SundayrnAUGUST 2000/31rnrnrn