Troy Patterson
March 24, 2000 AT 05:00 AM EST

A Conspiracy of Paper

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
David Liss
publisher
Random House
genre
Fiction, Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a C-

According to its book jacket, David Liss’ first novel A Conspiracy of Paper is ”in the tradition of The Alienist” — that is, a period piece housing a murder mystery. The period here is the early 1700s, when Londoners lived on the brink of their first stock-market crash. The mystery is detected by Benjamin Weaver, a hard-boiled heavy and lapsed Jew whose father’s death was most likely perpetrated by some of the king’s men. But since Liss’ prose is lousy with fake elegance and his plotting far too clumsy to allow any kind of tension to build, this Paper is somewhat soggy in the way of suspense. C-

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