A packet of incendiary letters is stolen from the London residence of a prominent official, and turns up in the colony of Massachusetts. Why are the contents of the letters so controversial? Why has a suspect in the theft turned up dead? And what should magistrate Sir John Fielding do about his feeling that Benjamin Franklin is somehow complicit? While the tensions rise, Sir John and his protégé, Jeremy Proctor, search for answers—and find that justice isn’t always served by the letter of the law.
About the Author
Bruce Alexander is the pseudonym for a well-known author of fiction and nonfiction. The books in his series include Blind Justice; Murder in Grub Street (named by the New York Times Book Review as a notable book in 1995); Watery Grave; Person or Persons Unknown (named by the Chicago Tribune as one of the best novels of 1997); Jack, Knave and Fool; and Death of a Colonial.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Well, it does pay to wait, because not since Murder in Grub Street or Watery Grave has one of Alexander's books entertained me so well. This one I would rank right up there; the mystery is solid, the action is good, and it was obvious that Alexander did his homework in researching various events focusing around Benjamin Franklin.So, having said that, let me say that if you're following the series, you are going to really enjoy this one. The only thing I didn't like was the way the relationship between Jeremy and Clarissa was going (personally, I can't stand the character of Clarissa), but I'm a purist -- I don't want much to get in the way of the plot. A brief description with no spoilers:The Secretary of State for the American Colonies, Lord Hillsborough, is robbed, and one of his footmen is killed during said robbery. What was stolen was a packet of letters, but when Hillsborough goes to see Sir John, he is less than forthcoming about their contents. Sir John is a bit upset about this, but nevertheless he continues to investigate the theft. His work leads him to suspect a colleague of none other than Benjamin Franklin. Things take a nasty turn and heat up quickly, putting the lives of several people in jeopardy. Very well done and I was quite impressed!This is number 9 in the Sir John Fielding series. You'll enjoy it if you are into historical mysteries or if you want to read something about events leading up to the American Revolution. Don't start with this one, though, if you're planning to read the series.
Having read Walter Isaacson's new biography of Franklin (Benjamin Franklin: An American Life), and then finally getting to this fun read was providential. Realizing that Alexander writes fiction, nonetheless, some characters and certain events are factual. Alexander is such a fine storyteller, I felt as if I was reading a missing chapter from Isaacson's fantastic biography of B. Franklin! A fun read, well-told, with excellent character and plot development.
He may be blind but Sir John Fielding is regarded as one of the most intelligent magistrates in 1793 London. He presides as a judge in court and leads investigations on matters that are sensitive to England¿s interests. Lord Hillsborough, the Secretary of State for the American Colonies, is robbed and one of the footmen is dead. He tells Sir John that he has no idea what the burglars were after but the magistrate doesn¿t believe him. After he reports to his superior, Sir John is ordered to once again visit Lord Hillsborough who promises to be forthcoming. He says a packet of letters were stolen but he won¿t say how many or what was in them. Sir John¿s assistant, Jeremy traces the purloined letters to Ben Franklin and his confederate Arthur Lee. The latter is seen boarding a ship heading to the colonies and Jeremy presumes the letters are on board. Sir John is really not interested in the politics but he is interested in justice and will do all in his power to see the killer go to jail no matter who it is. It is fascinating to read about the English perspective on the troublesome English colonies and how far radicals will go in support of their solution. Bruce Alexander is a fine storyteller and the historical detail he brings to the plot only enhances the quality of AN EXPERIMENT IN TREASON. Readers will continue to read the Sir John Fielding mysteries because they are excellent period pieces. Harriet Klausner