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I blush to own I rewarded his efforts to seek my opinion with only a formal reply in which I dismissed his ideas as nonsensical. I did so in part because I did not wish to involve myself with my family and in part because I knew that my uncle, for reasons that eluded me, had loved my father and could not accept the senselessness of so random a death.But then Benjamin is hired by two different men to solve two seemingly unrelated cases. One client, Mr. Balfour, claims his own father's unexpected death "was made to look like self-murder so that a villain or villains could take his money with impunity," and even suggests there might be a link between Balfour senior's death and that of Weaver's father. His next customer is Sir Owen Nettleton, an aristocrat who is keen to recover some highly confidential papers that were stolen from him while he cavorted with a prostitute. Weaver takes on the first case with some reluctance, the second with more enthusiasm. In the end, both converge, leading him back to his family even as they take him deep into the underbelly of London's financial markets.
Liss seems right at home in the world he's created, whether describing the company manners of wealthy Jewish merchants at home or the inner workings of Exchange Alley--the 18th-century version of Wall Street. His London is a dank and filthy place, almost lawless but for the scant protection offered by such rogues as Jonathan Wilde, the sinister head of a gang of thieves who profits by selling back to their owners items stolen by his own men. Though better connected socially, the investors involved with the shady South Sea Company have equally larcenous hearts, and Liss does an admirable job of leading the reader through the intricacies of stock trading, bond selling, and insider trading with as little fuss, muss, and confusion as possible. What really makes the book come alive, however, are the details of 18th-century life--from the boxing matches our hero once participated in to the coffee houses, gin joints, and brothels where he trolls for clues. And then there is the matter of Weaver's Jewishness, the prejudices of the society he lives in, and his struggle to come to terms with his own ethnicity. A Conspiracy of Paper weaves all these themes together in a manner reminiscent of the long, gossipy novels of Henry Fielding and Laurence Stern. Indeed, Liss manages to suggest the prose style of those authors while keeping his own, less convoluted style. This is one conspiracy guaranteed to succeed. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
This is a terrific novel. Crisply written dialogue and always twisting and turning plot that keeps you guessing. Despite the action and intrigue, the story is very plausible. Read morePublished on July 13 2004 by Thomas Dignazio
Reviewer Lee Armstrong suggests that David Liss may have invented a new genre of "financial thrillers." Au contraire! Read morePublished on June 12 2004 by E. Schell
As an avid reader of historical fiction, I really enjoyed this book. Mr. Liss does a fine job of interweaving a murder mystery with a cultural identity "crisis. Read morePublished on March 14 2004 by Melissa K. Bourdius
Despite its somewhat awkward title, "Conspiracy of Paper" is a first rate work of historical fiction with enough action to please any mystery fan. Read morePublished on March 10 2004 by Brian D. Rubendall
Having recently read the Girl with a Pearl Earring, I was looking for another period piece in which to immerse myself and came across this book. Mr. Read morePublished on March 2 2004 by Curtis Grindahl
Anyone how had traded the Talmudic world of Orthodox Jews for Wall Street (or Main Street) would find a soul mate in Liss's protagonist--a thoughtful, reflective Jew whose... Read morePublished on March 1 2004 by Avraham Azrieli
Benjamin Weaver lives on the outskirts of society in 18th century London - a former fighter, he's retained by the wealthy to track criminals. Read morePublished on Feb. 17 2004 by Gail Cooke
I had high hopes for this book. These days I rarely read fiction, and when I do, it's usually because it is blending fictional characters with actual events. Read morePublished on Jan. 6 2004 by James Sadler
I was generally unimpressed with this book, especially in plot & in writing.
When I read a suspense book, I expect a few properties - I expect something resembling a... Read more