Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Review: A Conspiracy of Paper

A Conspiracy of Paper
A Conspiracy of Paper by David Liss

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It is like Jewish Spenser meets Sherlock Holmes. The mystery is well-crafted, with many unexpected twists. The writing captures the language of the period without being overbearing or opaque.

Weaver is an interesting character. A Jewish Londoner in the 18th century, he is a former boxer turned thief-catcher. That alone intrigued me enough to pick up the book. The look into the Jewish community in London at this time was well-done. It doesn't dominate the story but there is just enough to capture the mix of the growing comfort with life in England and the precariousness of their position in English society. I am curious how much Liss plays with this in the subsequent Weaver novels.

My criticisms are that some of the characterization of London's underworld, corrupt courts, and stock-exchange are a bit overdrawn. This works in the story, but is probably oversimplified from a historical perspective. But this is only a small quibble.

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