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A Conspiracy of Paper (Benjamin Weaver #1)

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  6,851 ratings  ·  587 reviews


Benjamin Weaver is an outsider in eighteenth-century London: a Jew among Christians; a ruffian among aristocrats; a retired pugilist who, hired by London's gentry, travels through the criminal underworld in pursuit of debtors and thieves.

In A Conspiracy of Paper, Weaver investigates a crime of the most personal sort: the mysterious death
ebook, 440 pages
Published March 28th 2000 by Random House (first published 2000)
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 3.9* of five

The Publisher Says: Benjamin Weaver is an outsider in eighteenth-century London: a Jew among Christians; a ruffian among aristocrats; a retired pugilist who, hired by London's gentry, travels through the criminal underworld in pursuit of debtors and thieves.

In A Conspiracy of Paper, Weaver investigates a crime of the most personal sort: the mysterious death of his estranged father, a notorious stockjobber. To find the answers, Weaver must contend with a desperate prostitute w
Allie Whiteley
The level of scholarship in this highly entertaining and very well written historical murder mystery is, in my view, on a par with that master of the historical genre, Peter Ackroyd. Given the potential dryness of the subject matter (the birth of the stock exchange as we know it and the first crash - the so-called South Sea Bubble) it is extraordinarily enjoyable.

Benjamin Weaver (ne Lienzo) is a Londoner with a colourful past who now earns his living as a thief-taker in 18th century London (in t
I think I loved everything about this book - the time period, the main character, the history, the scandal, the mystery. So it's about a boxer turned thief turned thief taker who is trying to uncover the mystery behind his father's not so accidental death. Much of the story revolves around financial issues, which I really enjoyed. I love finance and economics and put together with a mystery?!? Brilliant.

I thought the author did a great job unraveling the whole mystery. Most of the time I felt Be
Apr 24, 2008 Jeri rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery/thriller fans
Recommended to Jeri by: book club
As Benjamin Weaver investigates the suspicious death of a local gentleman, he discoveries that the mystery has far too many ties to his own past. Weaver struggles to learn the intricacies of the "stock-jobber" system while confronted with a possibly-murdered father of his own, an estranged family, an interfering crime-boss and a beautiful young widow.

The protagonist, Ben Weaver, is just my kind of hero. He's tough and masculine without being a brute and manages to show some sensitivity and brain
It was a good-enough read, but it didn't immediately pull me in. I felt like the author kept trying to over-stress certain aspects of the story just in case the reader didn't take note of them, which evoked my response as: "Okay, I get it, can we move on now?" What I learned about the beginnings of the stock market and paper money was interesting, though.

One major thorn that kept preventing me from enjoying this story more fully was how sometimes I would reason a conclusion from what I thought t
Nancy Oakes
In 2001, this book won the Macavity and Barry Awards for best first novel. It is also the opener in an historical mystery series featuring young Benjamin Weaver, followed by A Spectacle of Corruption in 2004, and the most current entry in the series, The Devil's Company in 2009.

Set in London in the early 1700s, Conspiracy of Paper begins when Weaver, who is Jewish and left his family many years ago to be on his own, receives a visit from a young man who has a mystery for Weaver to solve. As it
Well, I would have failed miserably (but gladly) if I had wished to start 2013 with a drier read!

This book held promise, especially at the start, but then it went on and on and on like the Energizer bunny walking in ultra slow motion without a slightest indication of stopping in any discernible future. The last 50-60 pages were good, but the only thing that I felt when I turned the last page was of profound relief.

I was planning to read his other book, The Whiskey Rebels as soon as possible, b
One of the rich rewards of reading well written historical fiction is that, if it achieves the proper balance, it not only entertains but is painlessly edifying. This novel fits the bill. Set in early 18th century London we are introduced to Benjamin Lienzo, a Sephardic Jew who has changed his name to Benjamin Weaver and gained notoriety as a pugilist. After sustaining an injury that chronically compromised his athletic skill he has become a “thief-taker”, a profession somewhat akin to a modern ...more
Benjamin Weaver is a man with a curious trade. Having left the family business years ago, in his early days he earned acclaim for his skills as a boxer, introducing a 'scientific' approach to the sport and retiring only after breaking his leg. Now he uses his intelligence and strength to different ends, serving as a quasi-detective and bill collector, sorting through mysteries, hunting down thieves, and flushing out debtors. Now Balfour, a jumped-up merchantman with delusions of nobility, is dem ...more
Jenny Vaughan
This is the book that introduced me to Benjamin Weaver, who stars in all my favorite books by David Liss. Full of exciting intrigue and adventure, Liss also paints what I think it is a pretty historically accurate picture of London in…well, whenever this book is set (Liss seems to be fairly respected as a historian, or at least as a writer of historical fiction). Liss builds a believable world, detailed and socially complex. The story is told in the first person by a really likeable protagonist ...more
Miss Karen Jean Martinson
I'm on a kick here with people who write really amazing books while doing other really amazing things. At least Liss was completing a PhD in English while writing a piece of literature - mind you, I couldn't write a piece of fiction while finishing my PhD (I had enough with finishing the PhD, and don't even get me started on these final revisions...) - but, like, books and English PhDs go together at least.

Anyhoo, I read the Spectacle of Corruption first, so I'm totally out of order, but both bo
What a surprising book! A bit mystery financial thriller and a bit historical fiction that starts a little slow but once the plot is set up, really moves with twists and turns galore. It really kept me guessing and I love it when that happens. The protagonist is one of my favorites of all time I think. One thing that was embarrassing for me: I have lived in Portugal and England and prided myself for knowing a little more than the average American about their histories so I was really embarrassed ...more
Long as it was, this was a uniformly satisfying read--a deeply imagined historial novel that is also a mystery that teaches you something about the roots of modern finance. I'd read two of Liss's other novels before this one, which was his debut, but I actually thought this one was was the best.

Liss's 1720 London is a colorful environment. I think the description stands out in part because so many historical novels are written about women or in the voice of women; the settings are mostly in hom
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Let me start by saying that I never in my wildest dreams thought I would give anything "historical fiction" five stars. With that said, I absolutely loved this book after I set aside my prejudices against the genre and got past the first 75 pages or so. It was a difficult read for me in many ways, no fault of the author. I'm just not used to reading historical books that contain a lot of events the reader needs to keep up with. I learned a lot of new words and got a lot of practice following a b ...more
Mar 18, 2009 Kristine rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
Recommended to Kristine by: Book club
In one word, disappointing. The book itself, I feel was well-written, but this was such a disappointment as a mystery. Not only did it not keep me interested, but the ending left everything to be desired. I think what upset me the most is that the character that I believed to be the villian at the beginning of the novel turned out to be the villian at the end of the me, I'm not that bright. However, if this book is viewed as Historical Fiction, then I would give it a much higher ...more
That this book grew out of Liss' research for for his post-graduate thesis pays off in his attention to detail in how he portrays early 18th Century London and its society. In Benjamin weaver he gives the reader the beginnings of investigator who might actually reach three dimensions.

The above is not quite the slight to Liss' work as it might seem. This is the author's first novel, and there is quite a bit to be covered in this tale. I presume in the following tome's we continue to see Weaver's
First things first. I was fortunate enough to meet David Liss following a panel discussion at the 2013 San Antonio Book Festival. He was cordial, friendly, but almost the textbook academic nerd. Expected, I suppose, but meeting authors whom seem like they would much rather be locked away in the library always puts a smile on my face...

A great book based on historical fact concerning the beginning of the stock market. I am not typically especially interested in historical fiction. Unless the aut
Jo Anne B
Wow, this was a long book! But it was such a well done and researched historical fiction novel you couldn't help being drawn into its pages. David Liss is an excellent writer. I loved the atmosphere he recreated of London in the the 1700s. I felt like I know the main charcter Ben Weaver intimately now having spent so much time reading about him trying to solve a mystery.

I was so surprised at the subject matter that this book was about. Banks, stocks, and bonds. Sounds boring. But then there were
This is a novel that captured my interest and entertained me with the history of London in 1719. The setting was so well developed that I felt I could see the raveges of disease in the prisoners at Newgate Prison and hear the crowd jeer as they taunted a prisoner for being a Jacobite.

Underneath the story, there are lessons for today with the news of political unrest in Egypt and Lybia. This is a time when England was in fear of the French for their support of the deposed King James.

Benjamin Weav
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It is like Jewish Spenser meets Sherlock Holmes. The mystery is well-crafted, with many unexpected twists. The writing captures the language of the period without being overbearing or opaque.

Weaver is an interesting character. A Jewish Londoner in the 18th century, he is a former boxer turned thief-catcher. That alone intrigued me enough to pick up the book. The look into the Jewish community in London at this time was well-done. It doesn't dominate the story bu
May 21, 2009 Billfrog rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: daniel, roo
Historical fiction of the best sort, where the history is accurate and well researched (or at least according to the wikipedia entries I checked to confirm a tidbit here and there), but doesn't get in the way of compelling story and good writing. Actually, it does better than not get in the way, covering as it does the origins of the English stock market, it was unobtrusively educational.
But the setting is only one facet of this gem. The lead character is as compelling as any of fiction's priva
Mary Ann
This is the first David Liss I've read, and I have already downloaded two more. Economics has never been my strong suit, but I found myself completely fascinated by the story of the South Sea Company and the world of finance in early 18th century England, the background of this thoroughly engaging and enjoyable whodunit.
Very entertaining story set in 18th Century London when naked brutality coexisted with the beginnings of a complex financial system. Main character is a fascinating guy whose endeavors take him high and low across class boundaries and ethnic boundaries, and he himself embodies the sometimes porous nature of these boundaries. Can be enjoyed as a straight up mystery entertainment but also gives a fascinating look at the origins of the stock market. The cultural context is drawn with rich specifici ...more
A Conspiracy of Paper is a tremendously entertaining mystery novel, that details a series of financial shenanigans entertainingly wrapped within a whodunnit framework. Only the slightly disappointing conclusion to the mystery, and as a by-product the novel, makes this less than a top mark genre thriller. Ben Weaver is a great central character and a brilliant addition to the literary Private Investigators, but what really sets this book apart is its grasps of financial skulduggery and how it fil ...more
DAVID LISS was recommended to me by the website of my local library. All I can say is "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!" The hero of the Liss series is Benjamin Weaver a Jewish ex-boxer turned Private Investigator/Collection Agent in 1719 London. The first book in the series is A CONSPIRACY OF PAPER (ISBN 978-0804119122, trade paperback, $15.00).

Ben Weaver is approached by two clients early in the book. The first wants him to investigate the "suicide" of his father who was a friend of Ben's fath
The trouble with me is that I’m an arrogant reader. Particularly when I’m reading a mystery. I think that because I’m paying attention I’ll sort out the mystery and so this post might otherwise be titled “chagrin.” Chagrin because I thought I’d solved the mystery in David Liss’s brilliantly enjoyable *A Conspiracy of Paper* : a mystery set in London in the 1710s as the stock market is developing and the first (ever!) stock market crash takes place. Around page 300 (of a rough 450) I’d decided th ...more
Lex Poot
I like all the historical references. Alas I think that the main person Benjamin Weaver is not a very nice person nor a particular good detective. Not sure whether that was the intent. Lets just say I could not sympathize with the main character.
Eugene  Kisebach
One of the reviews I saw stated that the book is an enjoyable "potboiler," and I'd certainly go along with the characterization: it is a potboiler. There's nothing wrong with that, and it's certainly an easy book to keep turning pages on and just go with it. Perhaps "beach read" is more the term nowadays, but I think you get the picture. It's not a great book, and the reviews stating that it gives one a great history lesson on the beginnings of the stock market are bloviating, IMO. Yes, the stoc ...more
If you like historical fiction, excellent writing, and intriguing but slightly flawed heroes (who wants a perfect hero, anyway?), you'll like anything by David Liss.
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Casual Readers: A Conspiracy of Paper 102 45 Sep 27, 2013 12:27PM  
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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 Spectacle of Corruption (Benjamin Weaver, #2)
  • The Devil's Company (Benjamin Weaver, #3)
The Coffee Trader The Whiskey Rebels The Devil's Company (Benjamin Weaver, #3) A Spectacle of Corruption (Benjamin Weaver, #2) The Twelfth Enchantment

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“I mean no disrespect to the gentlemen of the bench, but it is no secret that our system of justice, praised throughout Europe for its severity and its swiftness, is a terrible and fearful thing, and no man, guilty or innocent, wishes to stand before it.” 0 likes
“I fear we face a new kind of man along with this new kind of affluence. When lands meant wealth, men could perhaps have enough. Too much land was difficult to govern. But with paper money, more is simply more. In France, you know, where they suffer from their own financial mania, they have a word - the millionaire - to denote men whose wealth is measured in the millions. Millions. It is inconceivable, but there are more than a few men who hold this title.” 0 likes
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