Monday, October 27, 2008

Book Review: Conspiracy of Paper

A Conspiracy of Paper: A Novel was first recommended to me by a young history professor. When she first told me it was a historical novel, my first thought was "uh-oh, gag me with a bookmark". But I decided to give the book a try because she said it involved the South Sea Company, considered to be the first major publicly traded stock. Much to my delight, I really enjoyed the book and highly recommend it.

If you like Sherlock Holmes, financial history, mysteries, and the stock market, you will like A Conspiracy of Paper by David Liss. The book takes place in the early 1700's (way before Sherlock Holmes, but it has the same Doyle style) in London, and the main character, Benjamin Weaver, is about the closest thing to a consulting detective at that time; he is actually an ex-boxer, a retriever of stolen goods, and a "constable-for-hire". The plot involves the South Sea Company and the possibility of fake shares in the company being circulated, and the activity around Exchange Alley, the "stock exchange" of the era. There are two murders that Weaver is investigating, one he was hired to solve, the other is the murder of his father.

This historically accurate novel has several sub-plots weaved through the novel. If you want a great enjoyable read, or you are looking for a gift for the financial history buff, then A Conspiracy of Paper is for you.

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