Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Everything I Consume: A Spectacle of Corruption

This book is David Liss' sequel to his book, A Conspiracy of Paper. That book was set in 1720 London and told the story of Jewish ex-boxer turned proto-private detective Benjamin Weaver navigating the financial shenanigans leading up to the collapse of the South Sea stock market bubble. I'm pretty ignorant about that period of time so I learned a lot. That's one of the things I like about mysteries, they can take you to so many different places and times. Anyway, Conspiracy of Paper was a good book and I think it won an Edgar Award. When I was reading it I bumped into my friend Annie on the subway and she said she was envious of me reading it for the first time. IMHO, it's a good book but not that good.

The sequel is set a few years later and opens as Weaver is being falsely convicted of murder. Not only is he being set up for execution he is also set up to escape prison. It's a complex story set against the background of the 1722 parliamentary election. There's a much-needed historical note in the front of the book and the players are often recapped. Still, I don't think I ever got a handle on it. Throw in a conspiracy where people may be trying to implicate the other side of crimes and it's very hard to follow. Like Conspiracy of Paper, it's all talked out in a lengthy explanation at the end of the book.

This book seemed to lurch in a pattern of Weaver interviewing someone, finding out a small piece of information then he talks to someone else and finds out more information. Then there's a fight scene. Repeat. Maybe most mysteries and even most books and movies are like this and it just seemed more artificial and exposed in this book. Like I said before there's lots of recapping.

Despite all my complaints I really liked this book. I fell into the rhythm of the plot and the dialogue was great as were the descriptions of London. Weaver is a great character. He is strong but unsure of himself intellectually. Weaver is constantly proud of himself when he figures something out or says something witty. I cared about the mysterious conspiracy and even the election. So, go figure.

1 comment:

buppa said...

I picked up A Conspiracy of Paper today. Thanks!