Part metaphysical mystery story, part homage to Montmartre, part irreverent romp through the art salons and galleries of the nineteenth century.Why did Vincent Van Gogh shoot himself in the chest, then walk over a mile for help? This true event is the inspiration for Christopher Moore's imaginative take on the Montmartre of the late nineteenth century, a Montmartre where artists are needs beware the Colourman, a revolting little man who presses a certain colour on them. A colour knows as sacré bleu, the sacred ultramarine blue of the Virgin Mary's cloak. A colour that seems to hold strange powers, and comes with the price of the artist's very sanity.While I loved taking this trip with Moore, the second half of the book (when we find out more about the Colourman and how his colour works) gives me serious reservations. The metaphysical nature of this book means the characters end up in situations that would never happen in reality, and because of these situations Moore ends up skirting some very ambiguous moral issues. I don't object to anything in the plotline, per se, but I do find it troubling that Moore does not comment on what his characters are doing. I will, however, admit that Moore's silence on the topic might be deliberate, in which case you must forgive me for not being more direct in describing the latter half of the book as to do so would reveal a great deal of the plot.Many of the paintings that go by in the story are reproduced in full colour within the text, a kindness for those who know less of art history than they might wish, among which number I must count myself. (Even more information is available via Moore's website.) The best part of the book design, however, is the faint blue colour of the text itself.This review also appears at Boxes of Paper.