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A Spectacle of Corruption (Benjamin Weaver #2)

4.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,390 Ratings  ·  169 Reviews
Benjamin Weaver is awaiting death in Newgate gaol. Mysteriously convicted for a murder he didn't commit by a judge determined to see him hang, he is suddenly - and equally mysteriously - offered the means to escape.

What, you may well ask, is going on? It's a question Weaver asks of himself as he slinks out into the London night on a mission to clear his name. In doing so,
Paperback, 392 pages
Published May 5th 2005 by Abacus (first published 2004)
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Richard Derus
Aug 10, 2014 Richard Derus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: Moments after his conviction for a murder he did not commit, at a trial presided over by a judge determined to find him guilty, Benjamin Weaver is accosted by a stranger who cunningly slips a lockpick and a file into his hands. In an instant he understands two things: Someone had gone to a great deal of trouble to see him condemned to hang--and another equally mysterious agent is determined to see him free.

So begins A Spectacle of Corruption, which heralds
I loved this book, it was so...
exciting, interesting, clever, relevant and laugh out loud funny! In fact I almost choked a few times I laughed so hard.

This is the second installment of the fictional memoir from the life and times of Benjamin Weaver. I recommend reading his accounts in the order they are presented; A Conspiracy of Paper, A Spectacle of Corruption.

Weaver is a charming, handsome, capable man of action and former pugilist who makes an honest living as a thief-taker, debt-collecto
Jun 10, 2015 Simon rated it liked it
Shelves: judaica, fiction
Quite good, though perhaps not as good as the previous one in the series. The 'Jewish' angle is a lot less pronounced, which I guess is fine, but it was something I was interested in in the first book. The account of the 1722 election is fascinating and, I am supposing, well researched. I was only bothered by three places where the author used highly anachronistic language. In general, Liss does not reproduce 18th century English full-on, but he does a good job of giving a flavor of it. But he h ...more
N W James
Jun 27, 2012 N W James rated it really liked it
David Liss is just good at informing while telling a story. This is the third book I've read of his and each time I put his books down I think to myself, "Now that was a good book." And then, about 3 days later, I think to myself, "I actually learned stuffs from that read." In this case, I learned that elections have always had an ocean of hidden agendas simmering underneath them. I am currently vacillating between the horrifics and the comforts behind that realization.


Jan 30, 2016 Shawn rated it really liked it
This was an exciting, fun read. An interesting look into what it might have been like in London in the 18th century. Employing the classic genre move of having the detective hero solve the crime in order to exonerate himself, we get a crash course in English politics and law of the time. Liss does a good job of capturing the language and the style of the times (or at least appearing to--I am not an expert in 18th century England and so I am sure he doesn't get it all correct. But it has the feel ...more
Sep 03, 2009 Jody rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jody by: Barb (of course) :)
A Spectacle of Corruption is a rare wonder of a book that educates, entertains, and tugs the heartstrings. Set in 1722 London against the backdrop of the first general election since the crowning of George I, this is the second installment of the story of Benjamin Weaver, Jewish ex-pugilist private investigator. David Liss is a master of characterization, creating complicated, compelling protagonists, and Weaver is no exception with his appealing combination of daring, determination, dry humor, ...more
Apr 13, 2013 Shari rated it really liked it
A Spectacle of Corruption is a story of the chaos that follows an election in 18th century England - and right smack in the middle of it is Benjamin Weaver, an ex-pugilist private investigator, who got pulled in in the mess by being accused of murder. Liss’s world and character building in this novel is simply captivating. The author’s use of language is just beautiful, helping put the reader quite at home in the setting. The election in question is filled with intrigues, political and social, b ...more
Peter Clothier
Aug 15, 2012 Peter Clothier rated it it was amazing
Quite apart from the Olympic Games, which I have been watching on television, I seem to be finding myself in London a good deal this summer. A few days ago I finished---and wrote about--Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel, a historical novel set in 17th century London. Just yesterday, I finished A Spectacle of Corruption, by David Liss, a fine romp through the back alleys and drawing rooms of 18th century London, in the reign of George I. And no sooner done with that, I happened to pick up from my pile ...more
May 06, 2016 Gage rated it really liked it
Everyone should read this book this year - election year. If you think our political process is corrupt, read this book and find out how bad it could be. The title is taken from one of the politicians running for Parliament in the book who says that the political process in 1722 London is "a spectacle of corruption." Like all of Liss' books, it is a fabulous portrayal of historical events wrapped up in a great mystery.
Sep 01, 2009 Nicole rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
A decent book that makes a better early draft than final version. In this book, Liss never found the balance between plot-forwarding action and the little details that give color to the main character's life even if they aren't strictly necessary. The book was too much a long series of actions strung together rather than a nicely flowing narrative. Even with this focus on the plot, the mystery takes so many twists and turns that the reader begins to forget what the problem was in the first place ...more
Apr 30, 2013 Wilson rated it really liked it
A Spectacle of Corruption is a historical fiction set around the time of the 1722 General Election; it is a mystery novel built on the backdrop of Whigs and Tories jockeying for position, on Jonathan Wild, on Jacobites and the royal succession. This background is a really exciting place for David Liss to construct his story of Benjamin Weaver, the Jewish, former boxer, private invesigator. Liss takes the trappings of the typical hard-boiled noir story, the flashback structures, the outsider narr ...more
Georgia Carvalho
May 21, 2014 Georgia Carvalho rated it it was amazing
This is what great historical fiction should be like, rich with details, well developed characters and great integration of the historical background with the plot. It is a pleasure to read David Liss's books. I hope there will be more than three books in the Benjamin Weaver series because I can't get enough.
Apr 04, 2015 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Benjamin Weaver is a thief catcher who plies his trade in eighteenth century London. As this story begins, he has been despondent and self-destructive for months since the woman he loves married another man. Eventually he decides to try to move on and regain a more normal life. He accepts a job from Mr. Ufford, a minister of the Church of England. Weaver’s task is to discover the author of a crudely written threatening note sent to Mr. Ufford. His investigation quickly leads him into a tangled w ...more
Feb 02, 2015 S. rated it really liked it
I am certainly not an expert on 18th century England. It is not even a period I normally enjoy reading about, because whenever I think about it, my poor imagination presents me with images of hungry, sickly people shivering in dark hovels while well-fed aristocrats drink wine and make merry in well-lit parlors. But after reading A Spectacle of Corruption I now have a whole new set of images with which to remember the time period.

Images of games people played.....
"A plump goose was tied by its fo
Jan 03, 2014 fiacha rated it it was amazing
Se me dissessem que iria começar a ler tantos livros de Romance Histórico, diria que não seria possível, pois o que mais desejava descobrir eram livros de Ficção Cientifica até pelos muitos livros que tenho para ler da Coleção Argonauta. Mas quis o destino que começasse a ler mais este género e depois de ler “A Companhia do Diabo”, deste escritor, teria obviamente que ler mais e não perdi tempo. Este autor só não é o escritor revelação de 2013, pois li também o Dan Simmons, mas foi sem dúvida um ...more
Feb 09, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it
I liked the setting and I am always intrigued to see Benjamin Weaver getting out of one scrape, to just find himself in a new one. I like the grittiness of the author's's as I imagine 18th century London to be like. The smells, the sounds, the's all ther, right done to the rotten teeth of his various characters. The only negative comment I have, and it's a result of my own stupidity, is that I had some difficulty keeping track of all the differences between the vari ...more
Oct 31, 2015 Ed rated it it was amazing
I just love David Liss. He is a first class writer who really knows how to tell a story. I believe his works should be in several categories. Literary fiction because the quality of his writing is right up there with the best novelists writing today. Historical fiction because in this work he paints a clear and memorable picture of early 18th century English politics and compelling narrative about the London culture of the time. Popular fiction because his work is very accessible and he can tell ...more
Jan 28, 2014 Hereswhatsgoingon rated it really liked it
A Spectacle of Corruption is a historical mystery that provides the reader with an amazing insight into elections and labor unions in England during the early 1700s. In addition, of course, is a complex plot that involves a man (Benjamin Weaver) wrongly convicted of murder, who orchestrates a dramatic escape in order to clear his name. There are vivid scenes of the squalor of London in the early 18th century, and the violence, and small insights into the social conventions that were accepted at ...more
Jan 29, 2014 Tita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: meus, livros-2014
Depois de no anos passado ter lido "A Conspiração de Papel" do autor e com Benjamin Weaver como personagem principal, decidi ler "O Grande Conspirador".
Desta vez, é o próprio Weaver que está a ser julgado e condenado, e tem que arranjar forma de provar que está inocente da acusação, e descobrir quem é o verdadeiro culpado.
Na minha opinião, David Liss fez um excelente trabalho de contextualização do meio social, político e religioso da sociedade inglesa, mas sem se tornar num livro chato. O livro
Dec 11, 2009 D.w. rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I am tempted to say that the convolutions that the book undergoes is almost not necessary to be a good read. But those twists and turns make it complex and a much better read because of them. We open at the trial for murder, so we have one body. Again bodies accumulate along the way, and we see into the heart of hero and his longing for the woman he loves.

These ingredients make a rich story and a deep one. We have the background of the first parliamentary election under George I and a thorough d
Anna Wells
Dec 09, 2012 Anna Wells rated it liked it
A good enough story but a great pity as the author could have made the story more engaging if he had committed to a theme and chosen to make the story more that just a bland retelling of events either by:
Adding some humor, giving it a tone of levity - many of the circumstances the character finds himself in border on the ridiculous and much of the story (false identities, plots within plots) lend themselves to comedy if the author had only given his character a sense of humor.
Or the author coul
Ele Munjeli
Oct 07, 2011 Ele Munjeli rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
David Liss is proof that an author devoted to fine writing will rise above: his work is to be found in the literature section of the LAPL. The second book he wrote starring the hero Benjamin Weaver is sophisticated beyond the first, and hopefully, a harbinger of the the future. Here we get the back story on Miriam, as she betrays her faith, and Elias, as he enters the literary context. There are literary in-jokes, as well, when Greenbill Billy abuses vocabulary. At the third reading of this auth ...more
Ronald Wise
Jul 24, 2011 Ronald Wise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this detective mystery set in 1722 London. Written as a memoir by a Jewish thieftaker (the precursor to the modern private detective) who tries to clear his name after being wrongly convicted of murder, and then escaping from prison before his execution. His task already difficult enough, he finds his fate deeply entangled with the heated politics, labor disputes, and treasonous intrigue of the day.

The book is written in the informal style of a modern memoirist and one could
Jul 19, 2011 Anachronist rated it it was amazing
What I liked:

The main character – nothing changed here. We deal here with a very likeable rouge but if you take into account the times he lived in and his underprivileged position within the English society you might judge him even less harshly. Of course Benjamin is hardly a saint - it makes him as well-rounded a character as I like. Despite tough conditions he always complies with his own set of rules although he is not forced to do it by anyone or anything, apart from his own conscience. Inde
Jul 14, 2010 Karen rated it really liked it
The sequel to A Conspiracy of Paper was a better book. The same delightful character, Benjamin Weaver, searches out for the wrong-doers
in mid 1700's London. The book is rich in London life but goes into polictics a bit to much. You do learn a lot about the Tories and the Whigs. Although a good read, I wouldn't recommend this book unless you are really into that time period. One very interesting thing I learned in this book: it was an accepted practice for workers at the naval yards to take home
Feb 11, 2011 Michael rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
I enjoyed spending more time with Liss' thief taker hero Benjamin Weaver. However, I did not care for Spectacle of Corruption quite as much as The Devil's Company. I readily admit that part of this is my fault for reading the books out of sequence. While there were no major plot points given away in the third book which were spoilers for the second, I did know how some of the relationships ended up. Another sticking point for me was that the bulk of the plot revolves around political intrigue -- ...more
Aug 08, 2008 Scot rated it really liked it
This is a sequel to the author's _A Conspiracy of Paper_, featuring the same hero, thief-catcher Benjamin Weaver, a pugilist Jew in Georgian England. I haven't read the first book, but found this one charming, entertaining, and very educational all at the same time.

Liss explores the levels and processes of corruption at work in London during a 1722 election for a representative to Parliament for Westminster, but the story is much more than just an insightful lesson in political science. The dial
Jun 21, 2013 Stephen rated it really liked it
When Benjamin Weaver went to a pub, he never expected to end up fighting for his life, let alone be arrested for the crime of killing a man he only met when the man saved his life during the struggle. But that's what taking jobs from mild-mannered preachers will get you. The minister had been threatened with violence if he didn't stop sermonizing against the Whig abuse of the poor, and asked Weaver -- detective, bounty hunter, thieftaker, shakedown man -- to find out who was responsible for the ...more
Jun 07, 2008 Beth rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those who like historical fiction; British history and politics
Recommended to Beth by: Mark Wood
I really wish that Good Reads would allow 1/2 star ratings --so Good Read powers that be, if you're out there, hear my plea.

This book took me forever to read, but that was not the fault of the book. I actually enjoyed it a bit more than "Conspiracy of Paper" for most of the novel. However,
I would give this book 3 1/2 stars rather than 3 or 4.

With Spectacle of Corruption, David Liss seems to have developed a greater comfort level with his own style and in particular, dialogue, especially betwe
Ken Kugler
Jun 01, 2009 Ken Kugler rated it really liked it

This follow up to A Conspiracy of Paper is sure to please. It is told to the reader as an autobiography that flavors the times in a way that gives insight into the times. I love that in this series.
Benjamin Weaver has gotten himself into a tight spot by being accused of a murder he did not do. To clear himself, Benjamin, with the help of his good friend Elias, a new character is concocted. Benjamin and Elias invent a character Matthew Evens. Matthew dresses in a different style, one of a wealthy
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I am a novelist living in San Antonio, Texas, though, for the record, I am not from Texas. I just live here. I have four novels published: A Conspiracy of Paper (which won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel) and A Spectacle of Corruption were both national bestsellers. They are set in 18th century London and feature Benjamin Weaver, a Jewish former pugilist, thief-taker for hire. Weaver will be ...more
More about David Liss...

Other Books in the Series

Benjamin Weaver (3 books)
  • A Conspiracy of Paper (Benjamin Weaver, #1)
  • The Devil's Company (Benjamin Weaver, #3)

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“It is in general and odd thing to reach some measure of fame and see one's name bandied about in the newspapers. It is quite another to see oneself turned into a chess piece in a political match. I should call myself a pawn, but I feel that does some disservice to the the obliqueness of my movements. I was a bishop, perhaps, sliding at odd angles, or a knight, jumping from one spot to another. I did not much like the feel of unseen fingers pinching me as I was moved from this square to that." - Benjamin Weaver” 1 likes
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