A Spectacle of Corruption : Benjamin Weaver

  • by David Liss
  • Narrated by Michael Page
  • Series: Benjamin Weaver
  • 13 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Benjamin Weaver, the quick-witted pugilist turned private investigator, who was first introduced in the Edgar Award-winning novel, The Conspiracy of Paper, returns.While inquiring into some threatening notes sent to a Church of England priest, Weaver is arrested for the murder of a dockworker. After his conviction, engineered by a crooked judge who has blatantly instructed the jury to disregard the truth, Weaver escapes from prison, intent upon proving his innocence.Meanwhile, Great Britain is reeling from a financial scandal that has sent the economy into a downward spiral; it is also preparing for a general parliamentary election - an event that happens only every seven years. Not generally someone to get caught up in politics, Benjamin Weaver finds himself caught in the crossfire of election trickery as he attempts to clear his name.The question remains, however: What good is proving his innocence, again, when having done so once only resulted in conviction? Instead, he is determined to work against his enemies and learn their secrets to try to discover why he has been singled out for this prosecution. The most likely engineer of his ruin is Dennis Dogmill, a tobacco importer and the election agent of the Whig candidate for the Westminster Parliamentary seat. Dogmill's opponent, and Weaver's unlikely ally, is Griffin Melbury, the Tory candidate and the husband of his cousin's widow, Miriam, whom Weaver once sought to marry.To discover the truth about the plot against him, Weaver disguises himself as a newly returned West Indian plantation owner. He must integrate himself with London society and political manipulators in order to learn the truth.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Far from David Liss's best....

I can honestly say I'm one of David Liss's most ardent fans. I have LOVED -- and reread -- his first books several times. They have everything I like -- historical setting, a good mystery, interesting characters, absolutely fascinating details about whatever time period he's writing about. Those books just can't be beat. So I was looking forward to this one.

I had an inclining of trouble from the first moment, when the book starts with a listing of the dozen or so successors to the tumultuous British throne following Henry VIII -- that's exactly the kind of thing that made you hate history in school, the meaningless need to memorize names and dates without any apparent relevance. To include that list might make sense in a paper book -- you could look back if you wished -- but it makes no sense at all in an audiobook. But worse yet was what that list implied: that you'd need to know this stuff before you could hook into the book.

Truth is, you don't really need that list -- you just need to know that this was a violent time in Great Britain, where competitors were offing each other, right and left, legally and otherwise, in a no-holds-barred battle for power. But even so, there was still too much time-period politics in this book to make it very interesting. Okay, the Whigs and the Tories were fighting it out, with the Jacobeans in there punching whenever they could. Much as I love this period in England, not to mention contemporary US and Israeli politics, I just didn't find this account very interesting. Politics is a paper game, a numbers game, and it takes something more than heated differences of ideology to make it interesting.

Strike number two: I'm always amused by fictional characters who barf when they come upon a nasty crime scene. I always think, "I'd never do that. I'm tough. It wouldn't bother me." But I tell ya, this book had several scenes -- several including animal abuse -- that made me ill just listening to it. Literally ill -- my stomach was rattling. The one involving the goose was just too much -- too painful, too agonizing, too awful to even think about. I don't want that scene in my head, not now, not ever. I took my ear buds out for about ten minutes, hoping they'd get done with it and move on. Just awful, really.

There was no strike three -- but a couple of good things. The narrator, for one. Michael Page is just way beyond excellent. I can't praise him enough. That, plus there is a full component of Liss's trademark tidbits of history and observation. One example: He makes the point, several times, that it was when the terms of elected officials were lengthened that the most serious corruption -- and expensive electioneering -- came into being. With longer terms -- more time to feed at the trough -- winning elective office became more desirable, and hence more combinative, in every sense. A worthy observation -- makes sense to me. There's lots of those things in the book -- I loved those parts. Liss is GOOD, y'know?

So if you're in for a pretty-dull, overly laden tome detailing electoral politics in 18th Century England, go for it. If not, reread -- or listen to -- the earlier books. One -- The Whiskey Rebels -- ranks at the top of my list for Best Books Ever. It's a gem -- and a much better use of time than this one.

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- karen

Liss-less

This story just didn't hold my attention, Even when I replayed the recording when I realized my mind had wandered I just could not stay with the story. Benjamin Weaver just seems to be excessively tooting his own horn in every adventure he relates. How he treats his friends makes my wonder why he has any friends. There was something there because I am going to listen to the second book of the series.
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- HIII

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-21-2008
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio