David Liss is an exceptional writer of historical fiction with a whodunit theme. "A Spectacle of Corruption" is the second of a series taking place in the early 1700s in London. The protagonist is Ben Weaver, a "thieftaker" who in this particular story is framed for murder and sentenced to be hung. What I like about the books by Liss that I have read is that they are fun but also educational. Reading of what life was like in London in the early eighteenth century makes one realize how truly hard life was then and how far we have come since then. Sometimes the scenes are not pretty, but they seem pretty realistic for the time, when life was cheap and life expectancy was not high. The first in the series, "A Conspiracy of Paper" concerns the first stock market and the first crash. This one deals with the corruption of government and the election system. I strongly recommend the book.
Reading David Liss/Benjamin Weaver is like reading a history book and really enjoying it. As I read this one I was thinking it was almost like history repeating itself. What goes around comes around. I felt like I was there during the campaign and the election. In fact, he was asked that question in his interview in the back of the book. (No, don't read the interview first. It will be more meaningful after you have read the book.) Reading about conditions in the 1700's makes me more thankful that I live in the 21st Century. Of course, the mystery made it even more intriguing. You know from the beginning that Benjamin survives as prefaces it by saying it is his account of what happened. Highly recommend!
Benjamin Weaver is a retired pugilist, part time private investigator and always in trouble. With this installment the author David Liss is laying the down the foundation for a wonderful series. If you read the first Weaver novel "A Conspiracy of Paper" then some of your favorite characters are back the always reliable but over indulgent Elias and the lovely Miriam.
Liss focuses this novel on politics of 18th century London. Many comment on how the narrative gets bogged down due to the author explaining the differences between Whigs and Tories but I did not find it to be the case. Explanations are not overly intricate and keep the story going. The mystery is fun and intriguing.
Weaver is one of my favorite literary characters. He is a self aware man and knows that he has shortcomings. Sometimes he can not think his way out of something and brute force is needed. Overall, Liss gives the reader a great knowledgeable ride.
#2 in the Benjamin Weaver historical mystery series set in 1720's London. Weaver is a Jewish thief-taker who is wrongly convicted of a murder and hauled off to Newgate prison. With the help of some unknown benefactor, he makes his escape and sets out to prove his innocence. What seems a simple plot to get him off the street ends up being a complicated political machination to the point where nothing is what it seems and there are multiple and varied possible explanations for every action. I really enjoyed this book. I liked the first in the series too, but found it sloggy and slow-going at times. This one moved at a much faster pace and held my interest all the way through.
It has been awhile since I read the first book in this series, so I don't remember it too well, or if it dragged as much as this book did. While the plot was interesting, it just seem to go on and on, until the end when everything was wrapped up in just a few pages. I'm not sure I would read a third book in this series.
This is a paperback edition.