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Evan Maitland, the world's most violence-prone antiques dealer, finds more of the usual even in merry old England.
Whichever anonymous seller was willing to part with a Tarenton Hall chair that matched dislikable New York dealer Max Glendenning's has pulled out of the deal. So Glendenning offers Maitland a fat commission to fly to London and kick-start negotiations with Alistair Lethbridge, the Kensington dentist who'd brokered the deal. Not surprisingly, Maitland's reputation has preceded him, and he's soon recognized. Convinced that he's crossed the pond to interfere with their current business, disposing of $8 million in bearer bonds for the Chicago mobsters who stole them, the fearsome Shivers brothers, brutal Ian and mad-dog Ken, promptly frame him for killing an American Treasury agent whose search for the bonds ends at the grave. It's a bad miscalculation, as anyone familiar with Maitland's record (Maitland's Reply, 2009, etc.) would recognize, and its aftershocks don't end till 10 more people are dead, most of them killed by Maitland in a scenario that reads like The 39 Steps crossed, as the title suggests, with Get Carter.
The usual beautifully judged action sequences are spiced by some piquant fish-out-of-water situations. Even though it's perfectly obvious where this high-speed, high-casualty adventure is going, readers who come along for the ride are promised a whale of a time.
Posted May 3, 2011
Affluent New York City antiques dealer Max Glendenning offers his Chicago based peer Evan Maitland with a deal the latter cannot refuse. Glendenning explains that he was working a deal to purchase a matching chair to one he owns worth a million each. Knowing Maitland was a former cop and bounty hunter as well as an antique expert, he wants Evan to travel to London to track down the chair stolen just before the deal was completed.
The vicious gangster brothers Ian and Ken Shivers believe Maitland is in town to pull a stunt on a deal they made with Windy City mobsters to sell million in stolen bearer bonds. The siblings frame Maitland for murder, which has the mob and the cops searching for him. On his own he must prove his innocence and turn the table on the ruthless brothers who bring shivers to anyone who knows of them even the police.
Tropospheric over the top of Big Ben, this is a fun mistaken identity caper as the hero and the adversarial siblings come across as satirical noir. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the readers meet the Shivers brothers who believe the Chicago visitor is scamming them so send their minion to get him; Maitland's Reply is to fight back. Their confrontation makes for an exciting entertaining but improbable thriller.