Anagrams and other brain-boggling exercises played pivotal roles in Dan Brown’s terrific bestseller The Da Vinci Code so it’s not surprising that an excellent send up of it would also be riddled with anagrams, codes, puzzles, cryptograms and messages hidden in famous artworks -- although poked fun at by Escober, in keeping with the spirit of his parody.
For example, Da Vinci Code’s puzzling anagram “So Dark The Con of Man” is parodied as “Hookers Con Daft Man”. In Escober’s Givenchy Code , the process leading to the decoding of this anagram, is a chock-full of giggles. He wrote: (after Villain tells heroes to go “where the hookers con daft man” as the next clue to solving the Holy Grail mystery)
“Go to where the hookers con daft man?” Puca asked to make sure she heard the Protégé correctly. He nodded, muttering with irritation, “That man is the reincarnation of Marquis de Sade!” “Do you know what that means?” Madame Au Swait asked, clucking her tongue. ….“Could be the park, Bois de Boulogne,” Puca replied uncertainly.
The park known as Bois de Boulogne lies on the western edge of Paris. Its designer, the Baron Haussman, was an admirer of large central London parks such as the beautiful Hyde Park and Regent Park and he decided to create two similar parks in Paris. He created the Bois de Boulogne on the west side and the Bois de Vincennes on the east. The more fashionable Bois de Boulogne is a favorite destination of Parisian walkers, bicyclists, rollerbladers and horse riders but at night, it becomes the red district of Paris replete with an array of colorful, somewhat shady characters, including transvestite hookers who smoothly con daft men of their hard-earned euros for a quickie moment of ‘Crying Game’-type pleasures.”
In the end, like all good mystery thrillers, the anagram is solved, of course:
“C'est une anagramme !” Puca exclaimed as she quickly scribbled something on the map. Finished, she showed them what she had hastily written:
Hookers Con Daft Man ---- Madonna Of The Rocks
A gasp escaped from Madame’s throat. Two versions of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Madonna of the Rocks exist. One is at the National Gallery in London and the second is held at the Louvre, where another one of Leonardo’s masterpieces, the Mona Lisa, also holds residence. Recovering, she tapped the chauffeur’s window and shrieked, “To the home of the woman with the most intriguing smile in the world! Hurry!”
As critic Kevin Killian wrote, “The Givenchy Code should be a best seller because Escober does for Dan Brown what Frederick Crews did for Winnie the Pooh, i.e totally tears him apart in a loving manner and providing the grateful readers with hours of thankful chuckles. The riddles that must be solved are mind-numbingly funny, as well as sort of difficult.” Killian also added: “Instead of the Last Supper, Escober lowers the boom this time on the famous Mona Lisa. She is smiling and you will too. Enjoy this excellent send up and remember, the Holy Grail Is Not a Cup!” Think you can solve that one?
The Givenchy Code: An Homage and a Parody is available at Xlibris.com, Amazon and other outlets. Make sure you have the right ISBN #: 1-4134-8031-4
“Hookers Con Daft Man” T-Shirts will be available soon at the author’s website: www.thegivenchycode.com. Please send an e-mail to pre-order t-shirt.